Versions of North

G.P. Lainsbury

In this late-modern period of slackened meaning, G.P. Lainsbury’s Versions of North attempts to locate poetic consciousness in the drifting concept of north, using avant garde techniques to reveal connections between disparate elements of signification. Lainsbury borrows from a wide variety of sources, filtering them through the grid of a disenchanted idealism taking to heart the cyberpunk declaration that “information wants to be free.”

Lainsbury uses the page as physical space: a long line creeps into the margin, and margins float about without justification reflecting a desire to mix and confuse games, to play many simultaneously, to use the vice of poetry to pay homage to the virtue of science. He exploits a phantasmagorical lexicon that aggregates literary, philosophical and scientific avant-gardism, and challenges the reader to participate in the construction of a provisional space for effect.

Versions of North engages with the environment of Northern British Columbia; it is the manifestation of the poet’s desire to create a cosmopolitan art in a place that modernity sometimes seems to have skipped right over.

The Psychopathology of (Northern) College Life

“You run on ahead?—Do you do so as a herdsman? Or as an exception? A third possibility would be as a deserter”¦ First question of conscience.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols


a place where all
are neither fish
nor fowl

the secretary
just a bit too smart
to be satisfied
a mid-size office

the teacher
who doesn’t really
like kids

or who kids
don’t like

or who can’t
keep his mouth shut
at meetings
work well w/others

all those MEds
w/academic pretensions

the MA w/connections
&/or charisma

various permutations of
the academic
not interested enough
in her subject
to continue work
beyond the dissertation

the frustrated professors
w/out proper lecture theatre

too much libido
for priesthood or wife
sublimating desire
endless preparation

the English instructor who
stutters & blushes  whilst reading
the dirty bits of the books
he assigns

the historian
who writes potboiler novels
replete w/racial stereotypes

the wildlife biologist
who chases bears
from the staff parking lot

the chemist
w/record of research
obsessed w/lebensraum

the physicist
who just can’t understand
how his students can be
so stupid

the Muslim mathematician
starving through Ramadan

&, of course, the smug
superior bastard
w/a few poems
in magazines
nobody reads

This is the long poem as filibuster, obstructing Roberts Rules of Order and what Lainsbury regards as the “linearity of conventional poetic logic” in their task of creating banal legislation of both the acknowledged and unacknowledged kinds… Lainsbury is inspired by good models of the long poem deriving from Williams and Pound through Olson and Ginsberg.

John Harris

This is poetry that dances on the page, and, as in Pound’s work, Lainsbury stands in the center of a swirling vortex grasping one perception after another to arrange on the canvas/page.

The Buried Letter