Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-920428-22-3






Reviewed by Martin Singleton

Martin Singleton was a poet living in Toronto.


This two-volume set begins with close-ups of the brooding poet, which then changes into a character named “Zend,” “who creates “Oãb,” who in turn causes “Irdu” to come into being. The interactions between these three are symbolic of most processes of civilization, including religion and, of course, the creative process. They skip rope, hide in Moebius strips, engage in endless debate. Such lines as

Oãb knows that the mind minds
that the matter matters
and he knows that for the matter
the minding mind doesn’t

are typical of the word-play that Zend engages in throughout. Comic strips, concrete poetry, nursery rhymes, crossword puzzles abound. The book also sports numerous declarations of its value in both text and cover, from the likes of Northrop Frye, Barry Callaghan, Norman McLaren, Robert Fulford, and Jorge Luis Borges. Methinks they do protest too much. Zend fans and followers of experimental poetry will love this book. Those not enamoured of stylistic pyrotechnics will not and might be well advised to put their nearly thirty dollars into first editions of more traditional poets.



Zend, Robert, “Oãb,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35991.