Under the glaze of transient empire
earth goes on as before
sea, sky a concordant azure.
Aiken Drum. by Peter Sanger, Kentville: Gaspereau Press, 2006.
Sanger’s sixth poetry collection obviously required, for him, thousands of hours of silence. The lines move slowly and many of the words were unfamiliar, like bent knives or Ike’s hand-made spokeshaves that Alice’s Dave took back to Montreal over the weekend.
It felt weird just touching this book. Fifty years from now you’d need a pile of documentation and white cotton gloves just to handle it. The little presses capable of turning out such an object are dying in the present economic downturn while our politicians cheer on the process.
and still driving books to market
takes a stick to prod and a string
tied fast to the shank of each colophon.
The heart of the collection is a sequence that explores the life of a man who may or may not have been Moon, anti-hero of "the first Canadian best-seller." (125) This character blows through New Brunswick like a trickster god, ruffling the people but not overturning them.
The rest of the poems mostly celebrate rootedness. I think Sanger settled down not too far from Great Village. It’s perhaps appropriate that somebody would.
We’ve almost built
this room of light
unanchored for now,
adrift and too new
for us to be sure
where even our
pictures have to be