In his first collection of short stories, rob mclennanÕs The Uncertainty Principle uses not a single wasted word to explore history, contemporary culture, human relationships, and the ways in which we live. His microfictions highlight our most important moments and biggest stories in the tiniest of spaces. Small novels and even smaller stories are all written in dense, packed prose. Carve, slowly. Carve further, even slower. Pause. Listen.
Born in Ottawa in 1970 at the late lamented Grace Hospital on Wellington Street near Parkdale Avenue, rob mclennan currently lives in directly between Ottawa's Chinatown and Little Italy neighbourhoods, and was called "Centretown's poet laureate" by David Gladstone in The Centretown Buzz in the mid-1990s. The author of twelve previous trade poetry collections in Canada and England, he has published poetry, fiction, interviews, reviews and columns in over two hundred publications in fourteen countries and in four languages, and done reading tours in five countries on two continents. The editor/publisher of above/ground press and the long poem magazine STANZAS (both founded in 1993), the online critical journal Poetics.ca (with Ottawa poet Stephen Brockwell) and the Ottawa poetry annual ottawater (ottawater.com), he edits the ongoing Cauldron Books series through Broken Jaw Press, edited the anthologies evergreen: six new poets (Black Moss Press), side/lines: a new canadian poetics (Insomniac Press), GROUNDSWELL: the best of above/ground press, 1993-2003 (Broken Jaw Press) and Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Chaudiere Books), and runs the semi-annual ottawa small press book fair, which he co-founded in 1994, currently under the umbrella of the small press action network - ottawa (span-o), which he also runs. Fall 2007 sees the appearance of a new poetry collection with Ireland's Salmon Publishing, a collection of literary essays appears with Toronto's ECW Press, and a title for Vancouver publisher Arsenal Pulp Press, Ottawa: The Unknown City. His online home is at www.track0.com/rob_mclennan, and he often posts reviews, essays, rants and other nonsense at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com.
Imagine a Venn diagram, with one circle labelled ÒStoriesÓ and another labelled ÒPoetryÓ and yet another labelled ÒThe Journal from an Imagined LifeÓ and where the circles intersect, you would have The Uncertainty Principle. Each story, and thus each page, is a surprise, a discovery, and a reminder that art exists in even the smallest nooks and crannies. Ð Arjun Basu
The brevity of rob mclennanÕs stories is deceiving. Hugely original,enticing and satisfying, his jigsaw of popular culture and classic events, intersecting lives we never imagined, is poetic, as only apoet can write them. ÒThere are ghosts set along every journey,Ó he says, and his writing embraces them all, capturing the essence of the change we have endured. Ð Anik See
You will come to realize, as you read this book, that there are things that happened here before you ever arrived, things that are impossible to verify, things that will forever remain impossible to verify. I never know what I might find when I read a book by rob. These little stories are hard to talk about. They almost insist that you donÕt talk about them. You can only really repeat what rob has already managed. Like a yacht on a sandy hill in Idaho, this book is just a wonderful, useless thing. ÐKen Sparling
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