Sunday, June 19, 2011

Poltergeist by Robert Martens

i don't like to tell
this story, i sd, &
sipped my coffee
black, because people
will think i'm
crazy, & i smiled,
but maybe, i sd,
maybe i should write
a poem about it,
sure why not, she
sd, because they
think you're crazy
for writing poems

We are all haunted by the past, but for some, the past is so close to the present, it invades the future. Robert Martens playfully locates the unseen trickster, the poltergeist that hide in the corners of Ukrainian rooms, Bavarian towns, the Vedder Canal, the village of Yarrow, the Sunday School class,  the zoo, the restaurant in the city.

In this collection of poems we travel through the halls of academia and across two continents weighing the ghosts against reality. Throughout this thread the Mennonite church promises stability for the people (whose history of persecution is remembered personally) as they search for a place to settle in peace. Yet no matter how certain the voice from the pulpit delivers its wisdom, that peace is never guaranteed. The boy of the Fraser Valley may not be persecuted like his grand-father or great-uncle in Russia, but the skin's memory of the terrible past still invades the pastoral landscape.

Martens' skilfully transcends his particular cultural knowledge locating the ghosts across Europe that shape-shift into the luminous eyes of fascist young men looking for foreign bones to break. This is where the menacing allusions of these poems will provoke us all to think about the poltergeist in our politics and to wonder if there is anything anywhere that is not haunted.

The cover image titled "Ghosts" is a watercolour by the gifted, award winning painter Chiu Ming Chiang. Born in Taiwan, Chiu Ming spent much of her time as a child, drawing. Her grade one teacher spotted her talent and sent one of her paintings to the World's Children Drawing Competition in Germany, where it received second place. Later Chiu-Ming went on to study Chinese brush painting at the National Defense University in Taiwan and received her Fine Arts degree in 1981.

 Chiu-Ming has exhibited her work in shows throughout Abbotsford, Mission, Port Coquitlam, and the Canadian Society of Painters of Watercolour’s Open International Juried Art Exhibition at the Calgary Leighton Art Centre.

Lipstick Press
767 Chelwood Road, RR #1
Gabriola BC V0R 1X1

ISBN: 978-0-9781204-9-8

Cover image "Ghost" watercolour © 2011 Chiu Ming Chiang
28 pages

$8 plus shipping
To order send an email to


hg said...

This looks/sounds fascinating. Once I get home in July, I'll be ordering one. Or, do you trust me for it, Janet?
Glad I had this little bit of wifi signal today. Once again, heading back into the forests where the only 'tweets' are those made by God's own birds.

Janet Vickers said...

Your word is as good as gold, but my memory may need jogging. If its not there when you arrive please jog me.

daniela elza said...

Just finished reading Poltergeist. So glad I did. A little view here:

Janet Vickers said...

Thank you Daniela. (Oops I spelled your name wrong on the comment on your blog - apologies.)

daniela elza said...

You are welcome. No problem about the name. I fixed that. :-)

Lipstick Press is not publishing books now

Dear Poets Sorry to let you know we have not been publishing chapbooks since 2010. We did some online publishing - mainly for social iss...