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Canadian Literature 215 / Winter 2012
With that final period, we are set back on the ground. The poem is a spinning house, “off/ centre, floor tilted” (“moonlight serenades”), Stubbs reminds us that by simply breaking lines in counter-“intuitive” ways, tripping rhythm, the poet can unhinge a world.
SPG Weekly Book Picks, August 5, 2010
I don’t know the writer and University of Regina professor, Andrew Stubbs, but I’m certain he’d make a great dinner guest. I make this claim after devouring “Endgames,” his new book of poetry with Thistledown Press. It’s the breadth of interests and knowledge that wow: Stubbs writes intelligently about theology, psychoanalysis, history, and, most importantly to this reader: love in the here and now.
Character-based titles reveal his range: from heloise abelard” (tragic lovers) to “the count of monte cristo” and “bond james bond”. One part of the book is dedicated to a poetic portrait of Daniel Paul Schreber (d. 1911), a judge, “failed candidate for the Reichstag,” and artist who suffered from paranoid fantasies that attracted the attention of Freud. The author includes an illuminating introduction to this section.
Like any book of poetry worth its weight, “Endgames” is saturated with arresting images and lines one does not easily forget, like “Imiss the warin your eyes” and “slowly I’m learning not to call anything my own.”
My favourite poem in the collection, “winter street” begins with a quote from Charles Bukowski and offers a fresh take on heartache. Stubbs writes:
Read this poem slowly: these are genius linebreaks, and “winter street” is a sparkling metaphor for grief.
Passages like the above are so well-wrought I post them where I can see them - on my fridge - to enjoy every day. (Jambalaya, indeed.)
Stubbs is well-known as an editor and a scholar on the work of Estevan-born poet Eli Mandel. As with Mandel, form and ingenuity are central to the poet’s writing. His first poetry book, “White Light Primitive,” was released in 2009. A thinker with a beating heart: most welcome. — Shelley A. Leedahl
Telegraph-Journal, April 2010
Following his well-praised book of poems, White Light Primitive, Stubbs returns bigger and bolder. He continues to adhere to his former teacher, the legendary Saskatchewan poet Eli Mendel’s mantra that “memory is sacred.” Many poems again tap into his father’s experience in the Second World War, but the three sections in Endgames forge into more abstract memories. Most daring is the section “Schreber poems.” Dutifully esoteric, these poems were inspired by German 19th-century psychotic, and later Freud subject, Daniel Paul Schreber. Even in such obscure content Stubbs doesn’t losing a bit of heart or surprise in his composition. — Telegraph-Journal