Endgames
   
 

Canadian Literature 215 / Winter 2012
Endgames is Andrew Stubbs’ second collection of poetry. In both this and Stubbs’ first book, White Light Primitive (2009), the reader encounters a formal disturbance that pushes against a fairly ordinary subject matter of parents, childhood memories, and prairie winters. Only in the final section, “schreber poems”— on Daniel Paul Schreber, whose paranoia so fascinated Freud — does this disturbance find its subject. Stubbs’ poems are often short in length and line, and given to odd line-breaks that unsettle the reader. For instance, here is the latter half of the poem “second glance: turning some corners then,” referring to The Wizard of Oz:

       ... at
the end, the wiz turns
up as
the fat geek behind the drapes—god /
     evil, love /
hate, all for the sake of plot. If
not for the dog
none of us’d ever see
kansas
        again.

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.
— Hilary Clark
 

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:

 

lost love,
spice added to
the jambalaya of nightfall, you
pin to the air
like a wreath.

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

 

       

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