Book Review for Gone South:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume X Issue II


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Gone South

Author: Barry McKinnon

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2021

Pages: 19

“And I miss you
Like the deserts miss the rain . . .”
- from Missing by 48th St. Collective

An exciting evolution of Imagist and Beat form, a desert flower song, that celebrates New Age poetics, Gone South by Barry McKinnon and above/ground press. Barry McKinnon (poet, teacher) lives and works in British Columbia. He has studied at Mount Royal College, took coursework with Irving Layton at Sir George Williams University, Montreal, earning a B.A. and then studying at the University of British Columbia, earning an M.A. He is widely published and was awarded the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award (1991) and the bp Nichol Chapbook Award (1994). He teaches English in Prince George.

At the beginning of this Chapbook is an introduction that explains that “Gone South” is a Native American euphemism for dying coined in the 1700’s. What follows is a broken introspection within the desert with nature images that flower and fall like the rain. A travelogue of daymares, bars, “America”, children, dogs, girder bridges and steamboats, an 88 Buick, pools, canals, range music, Slab City . . . the images woven with the natural world in a profound melee of “sang the broken heart.” A deep brooding riff in truncated thought forms that almost borders on the nonsensical creating mystical blues and water in a desert landscape, often exploring the nature of love in the post-modern world.

A fantastical transcendental Beat, the short thought forms strung together across the page play with the light and heat as if baking in the desert sun. Like a Muse that lures in the hope of Nirvana, “Love in the Time of Cholera”, the boat that sails up and down the river and never stops.

A beautiful study in original New Age poetics, Gone South by Barry McKinnon.

Available @ above/ground press.

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2022