The almost hallucinatory music in The Book of Uncertain is front and center … fast, powerful, exuberant, joyful, like an extended solo in the so-called “energy music” of jazz—think John Coltrane on tenor, Cecil Taylor at the piano. The waves of sonic charge that break against Uncertain are the music of the poem as war machine, offered as resistance and antidote to “the Doom Program.” Reader: swallow it whole, and take momentary leave of your certainties about the quantum that is poetry in our time.
Michael Boughn’s The Book of Uncertain is the only book of poetry that is certain to be more interesting and important than the last poetry book you might have read, unless that book is Jack Clarke’s In the Analogy or perhaps Charles Olson’s Archeology of Morning, or with some certainty The Collected Books of Jack Spicer with commentary by Robin Blaser, and though it’s not poetry but because it might be most helpful in reading the Boughn’s book: Eric Havelock’s Preface to Plato or The Muse Learns to Write.
A book of contemplation. Hung up between coming and going. Caught lingering, thinking it through. Synapses firing. Heavy to ponder, "architects in eternity / have weighted the dice darkly". Enough so, anyway, to keep it one "burns through a case / of Early Times each week". The point being, is there a point? other than having the opportunity of perhaps considering one. Keeping in mind, "Having nothing to say / is no reason not to say it / with heart". Listen in. "There you have it, Leaving" like being "way up in the blue / with Thelma and Lou," a poem as cinematic a testament to living thought out to its logical conclusions as the Ridley Scott film. Either way you take it, doomed or a joyous sort of crossing over into pure speculative wonder, ‘Chaos’ gets rolled.
Michael Boughn has published numerous books of poetry including Iterations of the Diagonal, Dislocations in Crystal, One’s own Mind, 22 Skidoo/SubTractions, Cosmographia—a post-Lucretian faux micro-epic (short listed for the Canadian Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2011), Great Canadian Poems for the Aged Vol. 1 Illus. Ed., as well as a crime novel, Business AS Usual. With Victor Coleman, he edited Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book. He lives in Toronto.