I'm Not Going to Lie to You.


120 pages
ISBN 978-1-897141-17-3
DDC C811'.6





Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English (Canadian Literature) at
Laurentian University.


Strangely enough, after reading this collection of poems, Blouin’s first, I believe what the title says. Even the blatantly false poems don’t seem to be lies. “my poem,” for instance, says “this is the one that I’ll keep / not send out in the mail … / I’ll keep it in a drawer.” Sure, and that’s why I’m reading it. “my poem” goes on to tell about the poet’s deflating his daughter’s awe regarding a “small meteorite,” by explaining that the “shower of red in the night” was only “cigarette sparks tumbling from a passing car.” The poet at once realized that rational explanations are “only a part of it / and quickly told her about the big hand of God / how it came down.” In communicating to his daughter his own sense of the immanence of God, the poet enacts the deistic belief that God’s invisible hand works toward achieving his purposes in spite of humanity’s weaknesses and inability to do so. The poem ends on the next morning, with the poet’s sense of “feeling kind of friendly / with everything that’s lost / or broken—that cannot find its way.” As the poem itself found its way out of the drawer, the reader understands, and the Gradgrindish impulse of the poet/father the night before transformed into trying to salvage his daughter’s sense of miraculousness, so in the morning the poet is transformed, feeling the sort of sympathy described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:28.


The collection is varied, including poems of homage to Leonard Cohen, bpNichol, and Michael Ondaatje, as well as moving reflections on ordinary, everyday things and events. Many of the poems were initially published in magazines. Besides giving the poems pedigrees, this information made me consider the differences for a reader in encountering one or two of Blouin’s poems at a time, compared to reading through a 100-page collection. Each poem offers much, so reading the collection through I did not give each its due attention. I recommend keeping this book handy, and dipping into it frequently.


Blouin, Michael., “I'm Not Going to Lie to You.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/27617.