American Standard / Canada Dry
We waxed them hard with cobras
In our underwoods of Ajax
A semi-automatic for the people
Capitalist corsairs drunk
On glory & gummy bears
With Canada / US relations in the proverbial toilet (American Standard, of course), Stephen Cain’s third book blenderizes ‘pop’ culture, politics and poetry to befuddle the border.
From the Howl-like opening rant about the militarism of the US to the satirical ‘History of Canada,’ this collection interrogates nationalism and cultural identity on both sides of the 49th parallel and attempts to show that Auden was wrong: poetry can make things happen.
American Standard/Canada Dry includes odes to video games, poems culled from Viagra junk mail and CNN reports on the war, ruminations on Canadian poets, travelogues, concrete poems, mistranslations of bird poems, and riffs on peculiar Canadianisms, including homophonic translations of Québécois lyrics.
Deftly oscillating between vitriolic verse and humour, the poems in American Standard/Canada Dry interrogate poetics, nationalism and Tim Hortons as thoroughly as a burly border avant-guard; they’re your passport to the land of a new political poetry.
About Cain’s Torontology:
‘One of the most interesting and engaged of Toronto’s young avants, [Cain] places himself carefully and deliberately in his surroundings and readings, and slips in and out of context as he goes.’ – Prairie Fire
‘Chaotic Eisenstein-like montages of words, phrases, implications, and Adbusters-esque commentary.’ – subTerrain