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Source: University of New Brunswick - Saint John


October 16, 2006

October 16, 2006
UNB Saint John News Release: 06-186
Patty O'Brien, Information Officer (506) 648-5707

Robert Moore will launch Museum Absconditum on Friday, October 27 at 7 pm at
the Study Lounge, Ward Chipman Library Building as part of the Lorenzo
Reading Series at the University of New Brunswick Saint John.

An actor, director, playwright, and editor, Robert Moore’s first collection
of poetry, So Rarely in Our Skins (2002) was shortlisted for The Atlantic
Poetry Prize and The Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. Widely and
favourably reviewed, So Rarely was admired for its wit and erudition. The
author of more than a dozen plays, Moore has earned playwriting and
directorial awards. Born and raised in Hamilton, Moore teaches literature
and theory at UNB Saint John.

Reviewing Moore’s first collection of poems, So Rarely in Our Skins, George
Elliot Clarke praised the book’s "funky intellectuality" – an "erudition ...
that seems unforced and unrehearsed." Clarke urged readers to "get a hold of
this book ... all that he says bears hearing." In Museum Absconditum, Moore
wears his learning with equal lightness as he explores the space between the
book’s two opening epigraphs – Stanley Kunitz’s Burn with me ... the only
dance is love and Stephen Dunn’s I am such love and am its failure.
Negotiating these positions, Moore creates a five-part movement, comprised
of meditations on the subject of love in all of its myriad forms. In this
collection – in the absent museum to which the title alludes – love and time
are partnered in a dance which, quite literally, can only really take place
as the dance disappears. Given the volume’s unrelenting attention to time’s
"slippage," the overall tone is elegiac, a mood registered particularly in
terms of landscape’s light and shadow: "Faced with the sea’s grey sameness
we turn back / to fields flensed to within an inch of light." Inland, there
are "Dark fields under ice." Paradoxically though, time is also always
offering fresh beginnings: "Moment’s a tale we start and stop inside." In
the spare, clean words of the poem "You Get Older," the speaker attempts to
inhabit the present: "Now is the country you’re determined, / despite the
terrible odds, to occupy." The museum guides who accompany Moore as he
thinks about time’s dual nature – how it is forever posturing between past
tense and future – include characters from classical mythology, vintage
westerns, and fairy tales. There are remarkable dramatic monologues where
historical or mythological characters – Joan of Arc and Agamemnon, for
example – speak. And there are dialogue poems that rely upon the perfect
timing of lines, a skill readily available to a poet who’s been a director.
Towards the end of the volume, one figure, above all, tours the poet through
the museum: Poem after poem in section four contemplates the last days of
the father, recalls him, addresses him, eloquently and affectionately. This
collection rehearses what is of value in the museum – what has been loved,
what has been learned – even while it anticipates the relinquishing of those

The reading is hosted by The Lorenzo Society and the UNB Saint John
Bookstore, and supported by The Canada Council for the Arts. Admission is
free and all are welcome to attend. For more information contact The
University Bookstore at (506) 648-5540 or e-mail

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