MxT by Sina Queyras
By Shannon Webb-Campbell
April 25 2014
Nothing is large enough to hold grief. Even language fails to contain it. Sina Queyras proposes a formula for grieving in her latest collection MxT, or Memory x Time, what could be this year’s most devastating and enlightening Canadian poetry collection. Known as Lemon Hound in her online avatar, Queyras is a poet of tremendous weight. Her might is found in every line. In the opening poem, “Water, Water, Everywhere,” she writes, “I don’t want a theory; I want the poem inside me. I want the poem to unfurl like a thousand monks chanting inside me.”
Grief hollows. Loss guts. Queyras’ fragments momentarily alleviate the burden, and offer poetic embodiment. While grief shatters our internal mosaic, Queyras attempts to restore pieces. Gives nourishment. These poems not only mourn the dead, they engage with the unnameable, unknowable ocean of loss. This is memory, divided, categorized and turned over. This is a form becoming a formula. This is poetry at its purest. This is a place to hold, and be held.
Queyras navigates the land mines of memory, death and loss, and shifts perspective with diagrams. Throughout, she invokes conversation with other poets and theorists, eliciting both the engineers of language and science. In several elegies – “Sylvia Plath’s Elegy for Sylvia Plath, Elegy for my Father’s Labour, Elegy for a Lost Brother” etc. – Queyras invites readers to reflect on how the lineage of loss has its own memory, time and feeling. Queyras swims in the pools of theory, only to abandon intellectualism and declare that grief’s unquenchable thirst is emotionality.