#TPQ5: ROBERT FREDE KENTER

Bertolt Brecht – Poems 1913-1956

How could I not! Ballads, ruminations, caustic lists, intense political parables. I love his plays, but I think his poems are the lodestone. This volume has been with me for decades. I always turn to it for intimation and inspiration.

Marie-Claire Blais – A Season in the LIfe of Emmanuel

A novel — yes — by one of Quebec’s premier novelists, experimentalists (who else has multiple-page-long- sentences! — well she is probably not the only one) and while this book pre-dates those seminal works, “Season” is magic — a classic poetic dream-song of a novel. Where else do we find children named by number and internal monologues and grainy-edgy photographic descriptions of a cornucopia of ragged-princess children in a rectory escaping rural nightmares — an edgy allusive hallucination.

Nazim Hikmet – Human Landscapes

Another book I’ve cherished for years on end, Human Landscapes is a full on epic modern single poem, a classic of 20th century Turkish literature –characters and scenes galore and beautiful modernist poetics, like “Two passengers gazed at the moon./The moon shuddered and starting moving,”

Anne Waldman – Gossamurmur

Biting, ferocious, numinous, epic long-poem in sections by the indefatigable Anne Waldman; I keep this book for bedtime reading, morning reading, afternoon inspiration — I recommend it, pass it on to friends. There are videos of her reading from it with whirling constellations whipping around the universe of its powerful incantations, chants, its parallel visions of ghost ecologies, buttoned up alter-egos & demon America.

Bruno Schulz – Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass

A central-European fabulist, murdered by a Nazi, Schulz is another author whose work traces avenues between poetry and prose. He evokes dream senses, writes about an overbearing father, draws wonderful abject portraits of top hats and synesthesia, populates streets with doppelgangers, spectres, cloaked figures, skittering families and ecstatic language.


Robert Frede Kenter is a writer and visual artist. Guest editor of Burning House Press, “secrets and lies” issue July 2019. Co-editor/publisher at Ice Floe Press, Toronto. Drawing and painting, cover art, poems, essays, stories and theatre have been around and about in journals, galleries, performance settings including New Quarterly, Playwright’s Union of Canada, Fascist Panties, ARC, Burning House Press, Mookychick, Grain, Going down Swinging, Lost and Found Times, SEZ, Anti-Heroin Chic, Usine106U Gallery, Montreal, Theatre for the New City, Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto, the poetry band “Palimpsest and the Slip Singers”, Ohio based long-forgotten punk band “the Broken Legs” with Scott Pollock and Lydia Dean Pilcher, performance and lighting at Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, & in anthologies from Gutter Press, Mosaic Press, and lots of other stuff.

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