Dreamland Theatre


Rob Budde

The Dreamland Theatre exists in a photograph of a white building on sledges being pulled through the mud from one location to another by a team of horses in Prince George (then Fort George) circa 1912. These poems are about imagining place and, continuing the work of Finding Ft. George, Rob Budde’s process of trying—and failing—to find out where he is. Poetry is part of a place, and this book deals in the powerful homemaking that is language itself.

“This is the kind of poetry that doesn’t conform to urban forms, but instead talks about a different economy. Come and listen in as poet Robert Budde thoughtfully asks ‘on what land am I standing.’ Budde asks us to think of something new, and in poems after poem we realize his ‘hut shaped ideas’ are ‘just around the bend’ of what is, as he says, ‘an inconclusive map’ populated, everything being equal, not only with unregulated spaces, but friends’ faces, as things go.”

–Ken Belford

“The material words are all that connect us to the natural world, or try to, and Robert Budde sees poetry as the best connection we have, ‘all the while thinking of the number of inappropriate / things poetry could do right now.’ Moving through the streets of Prince George and the corridors of the University of Northern BC, these deliberately inappropriate poems engage in capitalism’s incursions into the natural world and attempt to word world in a better way. Dreamland Theatre proposes politicized poetry passionately present to the multiplicity of world and selves. Acknowledging his complicity in ongoing colonization, Budde, poet as poem, keeps pushing ‘into the writing otherwise.'”

–Douglas Barbour

“With Dreamland Theatre, Budde’s poetic seems to have morphed into an intriguing blend of influences that easily appear to include the extended, loping sentences and insights of Barry McKinnon, and the lyric parse and eco-poetic of Ken Belford …”

–Rob McLennan

“Well aware of his role as someone who is part of the system and expected to challenge it in appropriate ways, Budde infuses his poetics with this same paradigm, both invoking expected Language Poetry tropes and rejecting outright fragmentation in favour of lightly pressing on the walls of (earlier) traditions.”

— Carl Watts, The Bull Calf

2015 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize — Finalist