Don't Expect the Sun to Shine

A Wake for Robin Blaser

This is a record of the wake of the American-Canadian poet Robin Blaser, who taught a generation of Canadian poets American techniques derived from the WWI experience, techniques of blowing apart meaning, deriving meaning from the arrangement of text on the page, and using pages as cloud chamber bowls. Anything on them derived meaning only from their relationship in space to the other objects in that space. 

These were called poems, but they were really scripts to tease the cognitive patterns of biological readers. Unlike book-based poetry, they did not interact with the technological constraints of books but with the neurological constraints of humans. Their purpose was to turn space into time. Their purpose was to stop death. Every poem was a wake.

In Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine, Rathwell and Rhenisch turn time back into space.

We want readers to wander around wherever they like. We don’t control their hike. Their biological history does that. We are just hosting a party, so they can meet. — Harold Rhenisch

Don’t Expect the Sun to Shine responds to three ongoing trends in the development of written language in the age of images: the treatment of words as images in art writing, the evolution of criticism as a form of creativity that fails its potential because it remains enslaved to the academy, and the contemporary world of narrative fiction, which sees fictional worlds as the greatest truths, enjoys being dominated by normative narratives, and treats characters as clothing taken on for public display. 

Novels have become self-help, identity racks in a mall that you page through to find the one that fits. Then you wear it. — Harold Rhenisch