Versions of North

By G.P. Lainsbury

Categories: Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781894759625, January 2012


In this late-modern period of slackened meaning, G.P. Lainsbury's Versions of North attempts to locate poetic consciousness in the drifting concept of north, using avant garde techniques to reveal connections between disparate elements of signification. Lainsbury borrows from a wide variety of sources, filtering them through the grid of a disenchanted idealism taking to heart the cyberpunk declaration that "information wants to be free." Lainsbury uses the page as physical space: a long line creeps into the margin, and margins float about without justification reflecting a desire to mix and confuse games, to play many simultaneously, to use the vice of poetry to pay homage to the virtue of science. He exploits a phantasmagorical lexicon that aggregates literary, philosophical and scientific avant-gardism, and challenges the reader to participate in the construction of a provisional space for effect. Versions of North engages with the environment of Northern British Columbia; it is the manifestation of the poet's desire to create a cosmopolitan art in a place that modernity sometimes seems to have skipped right over.


"This is the long poem as filibuster, obstructing Roberts Rules of Order and what Lainsbury regards as the 'linearity of conventional poetic logic' in their task of creating banal legislation of both the acknowledged and unacknowledged kinds... Lainsbury is inspired by good models of the long poem deriving from Williams and Pound through Olson and Ginsberg."

--John Harris