Inspired largely by the poet's experiences as a young man working in the Saskatchewan oilfields, Mathew Henderson's The Lease explores masculinity and the roles morality, violence, and hard labor play in it. Equal parts character study, cultural documentary, and coming-of-age narrative, Henderson's poems make it clear that however we may try to stay apart from them, the stubborn and often unflattering realities of masculine culture persist, not just in isolated, dangerous environments like this, but in our very idea of what work is.
No mark survives this place: you too will yield
to unmemory. Give everything you are
in three-day pieces. Watch the gypsy iron
move, follow its commands.
Tend the rusted steel like a shepherd.
Mathew Henderson lives in Toronto, Ontario, writes about the prairies, and teaches at Humber College. The Lease is his first collection of poetry.
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