by Micheline Maylor
Field Notes for the Self
by Randy Lundy
University of Regina Press (2020)
Field Notes for the Self, Randy Lundy’s fifth full-length collection, reaches towards that which is just beyond reach. Poetic insight comes frequently and with attentive rich language, musical alliteration, and conscientiousness to both embodied and disembodied detail. In this way, the collection strikes an otherworldly tone saturated with aboriginal and Eastern spiritual sensibilities. Lundy grapples with landscape, memory, dream, the contrasted paradox of individuality and wholeness, where the body is a translator of the landscape itself, such as in “Ceremony”: “A man should not dream of what is dead, or he might never wake; he might walk that path like a vein of silent, silver ore, winding its way among the dark roots of trees.” (19)
Lundy resides within the vicinity of the unnamed, with a shapeshifting quality of a veil-walker between the living and the dead, a translator pulling layers of time and space forward and back in wormholes of meaning. His philosophical stance and poetic prowess is fully displayed. Lundy masters the sentence as a poetic device; a sentence itself should have tension and movement for the best craft. In this sentence Lundy’s craft is enviable for its movement and cadence:
Ice pellets clicking like a bird’s clawed toes on the snow, hard-crusted from last week’s melt, this week’s freeze, and two white dogs asleep on a brown leather couch after being watered and fed, having gamboled about the backyard, barking at a neighbour dog and a squirrel perched at the top of the telephone pole just behind the back fence, apple trees and maples deep in thought, contemplation of no-thought, meditating on no-mind, and you, your being-in-the-world, circumscribed, once again, by memory, that old curse. (15)
Lundy enchants throughout the collection and is one that bears multiple re-readings.
Micheline Maylor is the co-founder of the FreeFall Literary Society of Calgary and the editor-in-chief of FreeFall Magazine. This review was originally published in Quill and Quire.