Feature Friday: Branches by Mark Truscott

In this week’s edition of Feature Friday, we are pleased to bring you an excerpt from Mark Truscott’s new poetry collection, Branches. Careful attention reveals that, even in moments that seem insignificant, our minds are constantly navigating disjunctions among registers of experience. Clear thinking demands that these navigations remain unconscious. But what if they’re meaningful, or productive, in themselves? What if they’re necessary to help us find a more meaningful place in the world? Branches explores these questions.

Blogger rob mclennan writes, “[Truscott’s] poems rely on a deep and slow kind of attention, as well as allowing space for the perpetual surprise. There is something very quiet, and perpetually understated, about Truscott’s work.” Author Robin Richardson calls the poems in Branches “wholly immersive,” and adds, “they slow the breath, loosen the mind, and dispel the self.”

We hope you enjoy this excerpt from Branches. Happy reading!

From Branches:

Serial

Looking is like

brushing against berries,

remembering their form,

grazing the surrounding needles

with just enough pressure

to hint at pain, knowing

the scene extends

beyond whatever frame

vision can muster, that

the berries’ distribution’s

the result of everything

inhuman there is,

but that it’s still artful

and particular.

*

Dust

I know the familiar

indescribability of the

commonest surfaces.

Porous soil and dirt,

dusty light streaming

off painted wood and

plastic. The hand gets

closer than the mind.

The mind gets this, but

still it feels the need to

understand and trace

its understanding.

It wants to be in the world.

It wants to strike some

impossible balance.

Its interval is very thin.

*

Song

The feeling

we could be

doing something

else is always

there, the

edge that

bespeaks the

thing is

here now

too, rolling

away like

a small

moon into

pale flecks

of unattended

detail. The

thing is

there certainly

but there is

complicated.

To consider

thought’s

density (and

thereby

increase it),

to feel

intention

curling around

an edge. To

see this opaque

shaping as

song. I am

in the midst

of something

impersonal

yet subject

to near infinite

revision.

There are cusps,

transitions really,

that suggest

beginnings.

There are

smooth

surfaces

it seems

one can

only buy.

Order your copy of Branches here.

Credit: Lisa Heggum

Mark Truscott is the author of two previous books of poetry: Said Like Reeds or Things (2004) and Nature (2010), which was shortlisted for the ReLit Award for Poetry. Poems from Branches have appeared in EventThe Walrus and on the Cultural Society website (culturalsociety.org). Truscott was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and grew up in Burlington, ON. He lives in Toronto.

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