Excerpt


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Praise for Cruise Control

Look out: here is a revved Ken Howe, erudite at 200 kph, funny, liturgical, elegiac. Enjoy the unparalled ride.
—Tim Lilburn

Ken Howe seems a genius at this genus, a di-jester of congestion and conjectural compression … Cross Christopher Dewdney's cenozoic perambulations with an architectural blueprint of a Gothic cathedral, and you get something that coughs like symphonic botany. Except it is in a car on the Trans-Canada Highway driving eastbound from Regina for three days, with a lonely, loony pilot imagining the pit stops as a gasoline-scented stations of the cross. Kerouac is a back-seat haint in Howe's car-as-confessional … You get so mesmerized on the road with Howe that when he finally pulls up 72 hours later to a motel in Dundas, Ont., you swoon out of the car, dizzy at the oxygen and wondering, with him, “whether, climbing the steps, the fixity/ of this dwelling would suffice/ to quell the ongoing motion.” This second collection from Howe will cruise any lucky reader home, or somewhere, busting through hypostatic spider webs, mosquitoes be damned.
—Margaret Christakos, Globe and Mail

Howe's poems mostly take on the form of pseudo-scientific glosses on various aspects of modern life, including cars, mass culture and alienating architecture. They have a solemn tone, but are played for laughs … there's no question that he's smart, funny and eclectic. Read him when you've got the mental energy — and patience — to keep up.
—Barbara Carey, Toronto Star