Written by Dennis Lee
Publication Date April 01, 2003
It is hard to think of another book like Un. Reading it is like bouncing on a moral, intellectual, and linguistic trampoline.This astonishing sequence begins with a countdown that takes us not to zero, but to un. Lee is surveying the catastrophic new reality we have made of our planet. But pushing way past the mimetic, he plunges into language itself with shovel and pick-axe, digging up free-standing prefixes, syllables, roots, in a struggle to articulate what we can scarcely bear to think.
This untology is at once a lament for our squandered earth, a wake-up call, a dramatic poetic departure, and a song of despair, streaked with craggy hope. Lee's exploration turns play into prayer -- perhaps the only kind of prayer the contemporary world permits.
Dennis Lee is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and prose, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. He was born in Toronto in 1939, wrote the song lyrics for Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock, and in 2001 he was named the city’s first poet laureate. He initiated the programme of Legacy plaques in Toronto, and recently served as a resident artist with Soulpepper Theatre Company.