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R. Kolewe was born in Montreal. Educated in physics and engineering at the University of Toronto, he pursued a successful career in the software industry for many years, while living in a picturesque village in southwestern Ontario. Always a reader, he began to devote his time to writing not long after returning to Toronto in 2007 and now writes full time. He also takes photographs. His work has appeared online at ditch, e-ratio, The Puritan, and (parenthetical), and he has been associated with the online magazine of Canadian poetics, influencysalon.ca. His first book, Afterletters, was published by BookThug in 2014.
QUOTES OF NOTEInspecting Nostalgia
“‘Could such beauty go unremarked?’ the book first wonders. Sensitive and meditative, the poems attend precisely to that which often goes unnoticed: the vulnerable, the intimate, the quiet. R. Kolewe rummages texts, memories, the discarded, the leftover, reminding that we must keep paying attention to the particular – ‘the real word scar’ – that we must keep examining the past in order to understand the present.”
“A complicated nostalgia, ‘want being what isn’t now,’ or maybe wasn’t then, animates the fragmented lyrics of R. Kolewe’s Inspecting Nostalgia. The past loops uncertain; if becomes again, times another version. As Kolewe inspects interstices of knowing, imagining, and forgeting, shards of memory glint in the gaps: ‘Sunshine on cedar. Stairs. Books. Almost noon.’ Precise and ruminative, Inspecting Nostalgia turns yearning to wonder.”
“With wild precision, Kolewe traces the dissolving rhythm of ephemerality to write of the ghostly past whose vanishing persists into the present – ‘No need to look back to lose you.’ Inspecting Nostalgia inhabits the intersecting temporalities that accrue within and around a life – those jostling times of the body, of memory, of history, of the stars – to create poems that startlingly discern the mind’s intricate, minimally perceptible movements as it falls into and out of time.”
“These poems are akin to an interior portraiture of still-lives. Kolewe enacts a curious, seemingly imperceptible talent for rendering nostalgia party to a mode of true grace, not the flatly sentimental, but instead this work invokes the cool gravity of viewing one’s self-but-not seated alone in a quiet room, seemingly suspended forever in a discrete moment of space-time. ‘Careless desolation simply. / I should turn back to tell it right / repeating and not repeating astonishment.’ Inspecting Nostalgia offers us both the terrible beauty and delicate suffering of the material/immaterial’s double bind all the while deftly echoing that longing for that impossible, par excellence: you.”
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.