What if words evolved in species and genera just like birds and dinosaurs? What if you classified them in kingdoms and families? Made a phylogenetic tree with orders of Space, Matter, or Intellect. Gravity and Levity as classes of Matter. With Density, Rarity, Pungency, Ululation. Would this matter taxonomy speak of the out-there, the non-human? Or the in-here? The human mind, the sorting, reasoning human? Homo linguis the word maker, the world maker? Formally innovative, Matter explores Roget's taxonomy, rummaging its taint of globalism and social Darwinism, unearthing relations between humans, language and the planet. Matter asks what if words are so many birds, chirping and chattering? What is thought? What is knowledge? What–s your life-list of words?
Praise for Matter
“What matters? In a poet this one, the plan of classification generates from both biological and linguistic matter. Meredith Quartermain delves into the gurge of regurgitates, the specific gravity of the homo-species, the taxonomy of the tongue. ‘Good morning. Here is history.’ Each poem an organ-ic legend revealing how etymology organizes the body, how ecology organizes the mind. What matters.” — Nicole Markotić
“Matter is like dipping oars in a cosmos-world/words, riotous and voluptuous festival of language. I truly loved it and it deserves to win all kinds of accolades and prizes—which means it probably won’t.” — Lola Lemire Tostevin
“In one poem, she refers to ‘a quaggy wild / around Man’s island of sense.’ That ‘quaggy wild’ is exactly where this inventive poet sets up shop, blurring the division between animate and inanimate, and fabricating her own brand of metaphysics for understanding how the world works.” — Barbara Currin for The Toronto Star
“The poems of Matter are prescient, daring, and push readers to unthink the things that they think even as they read.” — Kit Dobson
Meredith Quartermain was born in Toronto but grew up in rural British Columbia, on the north end of Kootenay Lake. Botany, Latin, Math, Philosophy and Ecology intrigued her at UBC. She is the author of Terms of Sale (1996), Wanders [with Robin Blaser] (2002), A Thousand Mornings (2002), The Eye-Shift of Surface (2003), and Vancouver Walking (2005), winner of the BC Book Awards Poetry Prize. She lives in Vancouver, where she runs Nomados Literary Publishers with husband Peter Quartermain.