Poems and Conversations
Colin Browne’s new collection, The Hatch, extends his formal engagement with the margins of the new documentary. Myth, history, and the present are contemporaneous in these poems; nothing is ever one thing, and nothing is itself for very long.
Figuratively speaking each poem is caught in mid-air, as if delivered in the flash reflected off a twisting sheet of metal. There is a new music in these pages, improvisations on the demotic, the lyrical, and the scientific in what amounts to a season of journal entries and field notes. Included are observations of Anna Akhmatova, André Breton, Benjamin Britten, Emily Carr, Blaise Cendrars, Aimé Césaire, Marcel Duchamp, Sorley MacLean, Charles Olson, and others. Certain texts are rooted in the tradition of the garden as observatory. An 1808 sea-otter expedition from New Arkhangel (Sitka) to California founders on the coast of early 21st century conspiracy theories.
Browne’s poems have regularly addressed landscape and the intersections of personal and public history; in The Hatch there is a rhythmic and political urgency in which the exchange of forms is lightning quick. This is a book of transformations.