“I’m in love with your every irrelevance.”
Normally I do not read poetry—I always stick to novels and occasionally (read: rarely) short stories. However, I have had Coke Machine Glow by Gord Downie sitting on my shelf for roughly a year or so now. I decided, however, to read more of the books currently on my shelves—though there are very few I have not read yet.
Regardless, I decided to read Coke Machine Glow. I will admit I do not know a whole lot about poetry (or lyrics in this format). Even though I studied English, my focus was larger works of literature. Novels, short stories, et cetera. There were some instances of poetry, but not many. I find them much more difficult to analyze than novels, especially considering I simply want to enjoy the lyricism they offer.
After reading through this book in one evening just before bed, well, I’ve decided maybe I should read more poetry. Since I am not in university anymore, I do not need to worry about doing the line by line analyses. Beyond this, however, I fully enjoyed just about every poem and lyric in this small book. I do not know I could tell you all of the specific techniques, rhythms, et cetera Gord Downie used throughout the book. However, I believe I can say nothing jarred me and struck a wrong chord. I find that whenever I read, regardless of what it is, I can generally tell if something is very “off,” even if I do not have a lot of experience with the particular genre, style, or other element of what I am reading.
In the case of this book of poetry/lyrics, I did not have lines that just felt flat or seemed incredibly disjointed from every other one. The transitions seemed to work well in my mind, and in certain cases I definitely thought I could even apply a tune to a couple of them.
While reading this book I did something I basically never do, which is highlight or otherwise mark favourite passages. It is not a habit I intend to get into, I prefer clean books, but I felt with poetry it fit. Anyways, I found myself really highlighting a lot throughout the first half of the book, though I had to rein it in at the end. I really wanted the standouts, not everything I liked!
While I enjoyed the vast majority of the poems and lyrics, I have to say my absolute favourite is Every Irrelevance. This is, in large part, because of the line I quoted at the beginning of this post. Honestly, if you read any of the poems from this book, I would make it this one. Definitely a stunner in my mind, that’s for sure!
To close, I would love to know which one of the poems/lyrics in Coke Machine Glow is your favourite and why. Is it a particular line? A meaning you got from it? Something else? Let me know in the comments! Also feel free to share your favourite poets and poetry collections there as well.
Title: Coke Machine Glow
Author: Gord Downie
Publisher: Vintage Canada