“National Poetry Month” #10: Victor Coleman



Independent of a Debate on Form
                                                     for Kate (in the key of)

Because true works (as I often say) in the official canon,
have leapt into the line as it has always been: fluid,
to be bold where the division of the line was independent.

It represents a product: French prosody; an overworked instrument,
a fortunate discovery, delicate and intermittent in its uses,
as around these moments of repose (as I call them).

To purify a modulation, entirely devoted to a storm, which has
the twin elements in their undulate alexandrines –
a modulation which is entirely individual

because every soul is a powerful braid of rhythms
in these disruptions of the task of nations,
to consider that time had probably been wasted.

Those who see every romantic division with a jaundiced eye
restored, with additions that may be a fortunate discovery, supreme
in their inborn plenitude, there can once more arise a handful of dust

or reality, in accord with the perfect intonation in the process of dissolve:
monuments, the sea, the human face – not so thin when measured –
bears witness to a very decisive tendency.

This disaffection was bold and unique; the question is whether
there is any reason to write at all. The fusion is in the process,
delicate and intermittent in its use.

The above poem comes from Victor Coleman’s 2008 collection titled MAL ARME, which contains a series of Lipograms created from the text of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.

VICTOR COLEMAN lives and works in Toronto. His last four books were published by BookThug. He has recently taught courses in modern and postmodern literature at Toronto New School of Writing, and leads an ongoing Writers Workshop at The Coach House Press that is open to anyone interested in “progressive” writing and thinking. He is currently working on a memoir, a history of small press publishing in English Canada (1940-1990), and a new book of Oulipian texts called Miserable Singers.