Well-Versed [the Weather]

By Robertson, Lisa; Zolf, Rachel | Herizons, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Well-Versed [the Weather]


Robertson, Lisa, Zolf, Rachel, Herizons


"Give me hackneyed words because they are good," says Lisa Robertson in her recent book, The Weather. Good to screw around with--and to challenge our complacency as readers. Both Robertson and Margaret Christakos, whose newest book is Excessive Love Prostheses, produce some of the best experimental poetry in Canada. And unlike the strictly abstract, cerebral wank of much experimental work, their writing is steeped in feminist consciousness.

Part of an artist's role is to highlight the unsaid--what is silenced or in the spaces between words, as well as the over-said--dominant and oft-cliched discourses. Robertson and Christakos delve into the over-said and come up speaking a beautiful un-said.

Robertson uses that most ordinary yet fantastic of phenomena, the weather, to "construct the most radical banality. The hurts felt. New golden face. Body of cloud personified." The weather's unruly refusal to stick to the forecast becomes an analogy for the uncontainable qualities of language, gender, sexuality: "I / think of this stricture--rain / language, building--as a corset: an / outer ideal mould, I feel / the ideal moulding me the ideal / is now my surface just so very / perfect I know where to buy it and I / take it off."

While Robertson deconstructs the romantic lyric with loving abandon, Christakos sends the lyric and its speaker "through Kathy Acker's Cuisinart. …

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