Full-Time Poetry

All This Could Be Yours Talks “Weightless, Insubstantial, Ordinary Mortality”

“Windows of likely rain. Windows with not fact/Windows of mild applause. It moves us not ...” Graphic Alex Manley
Joshua Trotter All This Could Be Yours Biblioasis Books 80 pp $18.95

Joshua Trotter’s debut poetry collection, All This Could Be Yours, won immediate favourable reviews for no reason other than its authenticity and aesthetic simplicity.

When Michael Lista of the National Post picked Trotter’s release as one of the five best collections of poetry of 2010, he made it clear that having only one Canadian on board was not another Canadian content quota-based choice.

“To include Canadians’ work for publication based on any other rubric than their merits is to prolong artistic infancy,” he stressed.

Trotter recently moved to Montreal and is pleased to have a job that allows him to stay at home and do what he loves to do: write poetry.

He claims to have no particular theoretical concerns and, like many other writers, he writes because he has no other choice, and because doing otherwise would mean his own demise.

As a result, his collection of poetry is less than a book in and of itself, but an expansion of and an expedition into his own metamorphosis.

Unlike most contemporary poets, who are often reluctant to seek comfort in traditional styles, Trotter is not afraid to explore all of them; he sneaks effortlessly into sonnets and refuses to call iambic pentameter an archaic formula.

It is as through rhythm and rhyme in most of his poems make a way out of his brain, and it is this same phonetic property that helps him brush off any imperfections when he reads them out loud.

“In front of an audience, a poem’s chaff becomes obvious. Public readings are an excellent threshing tool. All the dumb, boring, show-offy stuff becomes evident,” said Trotter in an interview on Canadian poet rob mclennan’s blog. “During readings, I edit on the fly.”

Beyond the sonorous quality comes the subject matter, which is an unusual coalition of memory and illusion, and a valiant attempt to render them tangible. His poems, as if they had a life of their own, are merely canals connecting a flowing and flexible stream of consciousness.

His airy style alludes to fictitious landscapes as much as it does to a “weightless, insubstantial, ordinary mortality”—and language serves to connect the dots between these. In this panorama, it is nature in all its immensity that fills the void.

Don’t be surprised if you feel the spirit of e.e. cummings running and jumping through Trotter’s poems, for there is a lot of material with as much comparable confusion and potential in here.

Stay tuned for Trotter’s upcoming public readings in Montreal sponsored by Biblioasis this March.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 25, published March 8, 2011.