Peter Jaeger is one of my favorite Canadian poets, partly because in every book he seeks new ways in which a poem can be written. Family Time is ‘about’ his three children but is also a poetics lesson in various possibilities for constraint poetry.
You’re unlikely to find this little book in a Canadian bookshop – over time, it’s likely to be a scarce item. But one of Britain’s bigger book dealers, The Book Depository, has it available on-line, including through Amazon.ca.
Last week I looked at George Bowering’s thematizing of constraints in his new collection of short fiction, 10 Women. There are hints of that in at least one of Jaeger’s poems. In “The Rurals / Ruckles Park,” written on Salt Spring Island while his partner was pregnant with their first child, each prose stanza begins in a perception about gestation biology, marine biology, or woodland botany: