[OR]Front Cover

ISBN: 9780889229082 | paperback / softback

$18.95 | 144 pages | Pub. Date: 2014
5 W × 8 H × 1 D inches
Poetry | Backlist | Bisac: POE011000
ISBN 13: 9780889229082 | Rights: WORLD

[OR] might be a book of steganography. Or not. The tension of appearance inheres in it, and ciphertexts seem to abound. As the poems take up their concealing/revealing, coded/decoded, intelligence/counter-intelligence themes, borders and borderlands appear, are crossed, or are closed. Many of the borderlands turn out to be their own interiors – “secret” workings of the codes ghosting through them. Are they abject castoffs, lost possibilities, proscribed mutations, or future events?

Codes are hidden everywhere, sliding through the atmosphere, slipping into microwave towers, handheld devices, nervous systems, brains, retinas, bar codes, antimissile systems, the antennae of DNA, the traces of virtual particles, the Chauvet Cave drawings, your Twitter account. Each broaches a transformative version of its own transduction. The buck never stops. And since it’s been documented that perception happens before we know it (Benjamin Libet), and the future might already have happened, these poems ask what this might mean – especially in an accelerated, “semio-inflated” world of signs, words, and information.

Maybe it’s no wonder that the poems use tropes from spy thrillers and code breakers. In them a character may have been murdered, or moved to another dimension. Along the way strange perturbations occur to narrative and its others: memory, (prosthetic memory), dream, reportage, code, a little history of the future, déjà vu, paramnesia, the virtual – versions, evasions, and alternatives. Each poem gets read a few times, its code deciphered or ciphered back up. Some of the poems decay. Each reader reads his or her own poem and encodes it for another. What communication crosses out, these poems try to find. They might ask “What is reading?” while at the same time “Who are you?” In asking they acknowledge fragility, and in fragility, suggests William E. Connolly, lies the beginning of freedom.

“[OR] is an extraordinary book, brilliant from the first particle trace to the last.”
– Don Domanski

“To read his poetry is to come clean from the haunting ordinary, made extraordinary. Always asking why, Henderson helps us dream the answer.”
– Weyman Chan

"This is a well crafted poetry book; I found it not to be of the multiple tones of emotions, but one controlled. I found Brian Henderson words are patient, careful not to focus on sadness, but the perspective of persevering.  His poems are colorful, accommodated by nature’s precise temperament."—Derrick Williams, Goodreads

By Brian Henderson

Brian Henderson is a Governor General’s Award finalist as well as a finalist for the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Award and the author of twelve books including The Alphamiricon, a deck of visual poem cards now online on Ubuweb.

Read more about Brian Henderson


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news | 2014-11-27
Giveaway! [OR] by Brian Henderson

…We’re giving away a copy of [OR] on Goodreads! Check it out. … none; cursor: pointer; } Goodreads Book Giveaway [OR] by Brian Henderson Giveaway ends December 26, …


news | 2014-11-13
Launched! Our Fall 2014 “Septuplets”

…the following readings. Brian Henderson read from [OR] ($18.95), prefacing his reading with commentary … and knowing. Brian Henderson reads from [OR] After an intermission during which the audience …


news | 2014-11-12
New Arrivals, Right on Time for Tonight’s Launch

…We welcome [OR] by Brian Henderson and Assembling the Morrow by …


news | 2014-07-23
Our Fall 2014 Lineup!

…and fans, established and new alike ($39.95). [OR] is Brian Henderson’s eleventh volume of poetry …