As Is

  • ISBN-13: 9781927886908
  • PRICE: $20.00
  • Paperback, 120 pages

Available for pre-order at McNally Robinson Booksellers

He didn’t realize that in this country, when a white man/runs his boat into something, it gets named after him. [“Remediation”]

Ben Robinson’s As Is is a study in place, the town of Hamilton Ontario, considering what it means to be connected to or attempt a connection to place as a settler. Many of the poems function as counter-histories, reading the local history and extracting details that get glossed over elsewhere: the first public building being a prison, the public hangings, the botched first treaty. Other poems are situated in the present, the personal, and look at how these founding errors ring through into the present, for both the individual and the community.

As Is searches for alternative frames for defining a local identity: expanding the sense of time to include the prehistoric, the fossil record of mammoth and wapiti in the area, and expanding the sense of place to consider the treaty boundary as a possible framework for understanding the region. Unusually for a book of poetry, it attempts reckoning with actual historical record.

Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson is a musician and librarian living in Hamilton Ontario. He holds a B.A. in English at McMaster University and worked as the music director of the campus radio station. His first book, The Book of Benjamin, is an essay on names/naming.