Thus, with the poem “Everything,” begins Gary Barwin’s latest poetry collection, The Most Charming Creatures. Barwin, who has written 26 books, is also a composer (he earned his PhD in music composition) and multidisciplinary artist. Progressing in four sections, The Most Charming Creatures—follow-up to Barwin’s recent 2019 Selected Poems: For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe—takes its title from a science monograph. Explaining the title in an interview with Open Books, Barwin said:
When I heard Harbour Publishing were releasing a posthumous book by Patrick Lane, I knew it would be a must-read collection. Lane became one of the finest writers of his generation or any other by writing poetry at once easily accessible and breathtakingly lyrical.
Trailer Park Shakes is a lot of things, and in being a lot of things contains a lot of things to like. It’s working-class writing, in the classical, economic-theory sense: this is not the writing of a suburban expatriate who just learned the word “kyriarchy” in their MFA. This is not even the explicitly Marxist poetry of writers like Joe Wallace, Avery Lake, or Brendan Joyce—it expresses, in fact, the violent ways capitalism robs the most economically vulnerable of the material requirements for organizing (From “The Slow Creeping Feeling that Everything Will Not be Okay”: “rebellion quelled by the almighty dollar / I’m too busy / I gotta go to work / I got a family to feed”).