Geomantic riposte: 'Archive of the Undressed'

Jeanette Lynes is from Hanover, Ontario and is the author of six collections of poetry and one novel, The Factory Voice, a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the ReLit Award. Lynes has taught creative writing at the Banff Centre, the Sage Hill Writing Experience, St. Francis Xavier University, and the University of Manitoba. She is a former editor at The Antigonish Review, and is currently Coordinator of the new MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan. Lynes' most recent poetry collection Archive of the Undressed was shortlisted for two Saskatchewan Book Awards and is her "XXXphrastic" reaction to a collection of vintage Playboy magazines, “touched up” by her critical eye and yet in the same buttonless gasp, balanced by her satirical send-up of fantasy tropes that send the blood rushing to the reader’s ... brain.

In a review for Quill & Quire, Liz Worth elaborated on Archive of the Undressed:

Lynes builds lines of connection with the women she portrays. She presents them intimately, makes them so real they seem touchable – probably not unlike the way Playboy readers felt decades ago when they gazed upon the first centrefolds. Those connections are predicated upon Lynes’s imaginative development of the backstories of women who have frequently been dehumanized for public consumption rather than treated as individuals. Lynes includes poems featuring burlesque dancers and pin-up girl Bettie Page, and redefines sexuality in Northern Ontario – a region playfully referred to as The Queen’s Bush. 

Archive of the Undressed by Jeanette Lynes (Wolsak and Wynn, 2012, Page 27)


Carnivals figure throughout our lives. Farmers’ market, row upon row

of puffed wheat squares. Yonge Street on either side, either century.

The office Halloween party. Any textile boom. All those times

they lured you in with a joke.

The time you ran away from home to the Calgary Stampede.

The Royal Winter Fair’s lady carved from butter.

The epic English Ferris wheel from which, expounded

the brochure, you can see clear to Canterbury. Like hell the pilgrims

were on their way to pray.

The Wife of Bath with her big bustling skirts, storied spouses.


Geomantic Riposte:  Parasitos


The time you ran away from home to hide out behind a Regina

monologue    They knew, of course that a predilection for grass-

hoppers living the dream only found in cereal boxes was in your

veins and would come to a sticky end          someone who’s not a

parasite       waiting for food trucks to emerge       at the farmer’s

market positively reeking of bran new fictional triptych    yet in

oure asshen olde is fyr y-reke       bonny and sanguine to stroke

palm or cheek  over background upload of heroic AEDEAGUS

making out with nothing but that big grain elevator on the brain

seeing this lady on the sly about an underwater bug that croons

with its equipment           ending up in detox with a black lubber

hopper spinning spiracles to some cat called Bug Eric       They

know I’m only aping a novel about a guy who makes a speech

then exposes himself         in the public square sure but throw

in some movie bubble bath for an air of mystery     yeah that

guy got the Nobel Prize for exposing himself and it was kinda