Was it a manufactured hologram or the fog rising from a lake? In Nicholas Lea’s first collection of poetry, the question coalesces in an obvious yearning toward Surrealism and a supreme interest in aesthetics. Everything Is Movies wrestles with the myth-making of mass culture and high art but the collection—accidentally?—rolls off the bed and onto the floor, a heap of laughing limbs.
Even as the middle section (“Dummies Wonder”) stretches its arms toward the capital-L Canadian Landscape, Lea’s dazed, schizophrenic conclusion reminds readers not to take too seriously any invitation to “invent/a school in the wood somewhere/where dummies wonder”—rather that all the while we’ve been “under-the-bubble-bath-looking-/up.”
Nicholas Lea was born in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and grew up in and around the Ottawa area. He now lives and writes and works in Ottawa. He is the author of a previous chapbook entitled light years (above/ground press) and has published his work in a number of print and online journals. For several years, he has been an active member of Ottawa’s poetry community, doing readings, working with journals and participating in workshops.
“There’s an unfakeable spontaneity in Nicholas Lea’s poems that I love, an ecstatic recklessness that signals not just the arrival of a bright new talent, but also makes a strong argument for something actually new. Read these poems, then read them again. Embrace and mistrust them—especially when they seem, at first, too casual or too smart. Take them on, grill their author about them if you get the chance. But between the shifting dunes of meaning, enjoy the sharp mind tracking what’s momentarily real, what John Ashbery has called “the experience of experience,” the uneasy rhythm and sudden surprise of these odd, dangerous times: “I had a dream about a town: the trees were uncanny, the plot was knotty…”—Kevin Connolly