Death Drive Through Gaia Paris.


80 pages
ISBN 978-1-55238-226-4
DDC C811'.54




Reviewed by Douglas Barbour

Douglas Barbour is a professor of English at the University of Alberta.
He is the author of Lyric/anti-lyric : Essays on Contemporary Poetry,
Breath Takes, and Fragmenting Body Etc.


Charles Noble continues to push the boundaries; in Death Drive Through Gaia Paris, the title’s pun a warning, he has created a series of what he calls “logopoeic haiku,” whose relation to the traditional haiku is indeterminate at best. He has constructed little metaphysical one-word-per-line poems 17 syllables long (that last their only real connection to ordinary haiku). Three to a page, these hanging poems offer riddles, Zen paradoxes, philosophical conundrums, and playful statements. Noble admits he’s taking on the riskiest of Ezra Pound’s three poetic types, logopoeia “tending to philosophy and a leaving of poetry,” but he is up to the challenge.


Although split in to five wittily titled sections (“Leibnitz Nuts” and “Rome Takes All Roads,” for example), these little poems really just accumulate their odd meditations on perception, body and soul, sexuality, and love from beginning to end. One can dip in anywhere and enjoy a small frisson, but read in bunches they begin to mount an oblique argument the book deliberately never quite states.


There’s a lot of fun here for those who enjoy having their minds played with: ‘I / think / to / you / I’m / me / but / to / me / I’m / free / of / me / if / I / follow.’ Noble moves from such apparently personal knots or notes to a much larger scale of thought: “bios / has / no / bias / till / the / nervous / crown / bites / its / toothpick / repast.” Altogether, the tiny provocations of Death Drive Through Gaia Paris are worth the ride.


Noble, Charles., “Death Drive Through Gaia Paris.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,