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Debut Book by Ottawa Author “Compelling” and “Inventive”


May 25, 2007

Renowned poets such as Dionne Brand and Ken Babstock are singing the praises of a debut volume of poetry by Ottawa author Rob Winger. “Sustained energy, focus, and a wide array of special lenses make Rob Winger’s first book a serious accomplishment,” writes Babstock. Dionne Brand, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, calls Winger’s work “finely achieved” for “…its luminously sustained lyric, its compelling narrative, its inventiveness and virtuosity.”

Winger, who won the CBC Literary Award for Poetry in 2003, launches Muybridge’s Horse at 5pm on Saturday, June 9 at the Manx Pub, 370 Eglin Street in Ottawa. The event is sponsored by the Plan 99 Reading Series.

Part history, part invention, Muybridge’s Horse is a sensual biographical long poem that follows the career of Eadweard Muybridge, a nineteenth-century British-born photographer whose studies of bodies in motion led to the invention of moving pictures.

Whether navigating hallucinogenic American deserts, violent coastal geographies, or a feral 1850s’ San Francisco, Rob Winger’s tale uses an inventive combination of poetic styles and voices, recounting early attempts to capture images on glass. Searching out stereoscopic beauty, Winger’s version of Muybridge carries portable darkrooms from the heights of Yosemite’s domes to the depths of the North and South American coastlines, and ultimately onto an 1878 race track, where a battery of fifty cameras settles a bet about a horse’s stride, forever changing the world’s understanding of movement.

Charged with murder, accused of neurosis, compelled to record ruins and wage-slavery, Muybridge conveys the violence implied by the photographic act and the blunt details hidden behind our histories. Elegantly told, Muybridge’s Horse is an evocative exploration of history, personal obsession, passion and negatives.