Machines That Speak Of Distance

A review of Machines That Speak Of Distance by Andy Brown

Published on April 1, 2001

Machines That Speak Of Distance
Andy Brown

Conundrum Press
$7
0-985161-1-4

Small press enthusiast and conundrum press leadman Andy Brown has been putting out poetry and fiction bits of his and others’ in small and large portions for a few years now – a chapbook here, a Matrix there – so it’s hard to think of his chapbook Machines that speak of distance as a poetry debut, as such.

Brown exudes a fine, slow, tumbling energy, but some of the pieces in this finely designed collection still need an editor’s eye in places, such as “Remnants,” ending

underlying this morning

your smashed candy necklace pearls

remnants of you

the last line reminding us of the point in case we missed it. In 24 pages, Brown does have moments that ram through with such force as to strike the reader in the face, but there should be more of them. The breath and brevity of “The rendez-vous” is sharp, short, and sweet. Good. But still. Parts of me wish Brown would do more showing, and less telling. Brown’s strengths are focused on the fixed image, writing his poems like a prose writer, with straightforward and street-level honesty, emotional and physical. Brown writes poems you can live in, put in your house or apartment like furniture. mRb

rob mclennan is an Ottawa poet, editor and publisher.

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