The Absence of Zero is a triumphantly executed celebration of the long poem tradition. Consisting of 256 16-line quartets, and 34 free-form interruptions, this slow-moving haunting work is a beautiful example of thinking in language, a meditation that explores time and memory in both content and form. The 20th century is already more than 20 years past: The Absence of Zero is Kolewe’s elegy to that era, and the disparate fragments of its ideas that continue to affect and disrupt our present.
Praise for The Absence of Zero:
“R. Kolewe’s The Absence of Zero is a daring, daily progression that depends upon return as palimpsest. Call it what it is. Gorgeous. Steadfastly urgent. Patient as dawn.” —Margaret Christakos, author of charger and Dear Birch
“The interiors of R. Kolewe’s epic poem The Absence of Zero, are anything but … observance upon observance then another, continuous action … past and continuing, teeter, falter, tick by, lob between thoughts, threads, memories, what is, what was, what might befall, or. “Read again. Nothing beautiful.” and absolutely absorbing, returning again and again to this place, this street, this window, this room. Know that once you enter, there is no going back. The presence of absence, all too familiar, begins to read, occupy you. It’s a glorious achievement. Prepare to be mesmerized.” —Kirby, author of Poetry is Queer
Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Poetry Preview —49th Shelf
45 Canadian Poetry Collections to Watch for in Fall 2021 —CBC Books
Fall 2021 Announcements: Poetry —Publishers Weekly
Attentive and Exacting: R. Kolewe’s The Absence of Zero —Listening to Poets, Margaret Christakos
“The echo of phrases repeating, shifted into different contexts, allow for a shifting, and even fluid, perception…This really is a remarkable book.” —rob mclennan, Periodicities
“Most readers will not immediately understand every literary, mathematical, and musical reference—and that is allowed. We can bask in the unknown, the mysterious, knowing only the framing of the book by Dürer portraits and the premise of interruptions to a predetermined form. It embraces, as Kolewe details, the “hidden variables” inherent in our world as in poetry itself.” —Zoe Shaw, Miramichi Reader
A ‘best of’ list of 2022 Canadian poetry books —rob mclennan, Dusie
R. Kolewe was born in Montreal and lives in Toronto. Educated in physics and engineering at the University of Toronto, he pursued a successful career in the software industry for many years. He now lives in Toronto and writes full time. His work has appeared online at ditch, e-ratio, The Puritan, and (parenthetical), as well as in the Literary Review of Canada and PRISM International. He is the author of two previous poetry collections, including Afterletters (Book*hug Press, 2014) and Inspecting Nostalgia (2017).
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