Geist wants to read A Complete Encyclopedia out loud

By Stephen Osborne
December 24 2011

The indefinite article in the title of A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People (Coach House) is either a logical impossibility or further evidence of the multiverse. Gabe Foreman is a 'new' poet who lives in Montreal, and his first book is a real gem. His catalogue of types extends to Park Statues (with a quote from Wittgenstein), Penny-Pinchers (see Piano Tuners) and Perverts (They have day jobs / just like you and me -- / that is, if we had jobs) and ends with Zygotes (see Little Bundles of Joy). Foreman is a meticulous versifier with a sensitive ear. 'Snoops' is one perfect line long: Dear diary, destroy my enemies; 'Sitting Ducks' opens with a couplet that resonates like an organ in a church: There will be tribulations. Perhaps / a tree falls, crushing your horse. These poems yearn to be read aloud, to be shown to the person next to you on the bus. This Complete Encyclopedia is a small masterpiece. Here is one more in its entirety, called 'Ploughmen':

A few months of feeling ploughed under, ourselves.
A few months of feeling ploughed under ourselves.

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