Jonathan Ball has reviewed Kern in the Winnipeg Free Press:
Derek Beaulieu’s Kern (Les Figues, 92 pages, $17) presents a suite of visual poems, crafted by hand using dry-transfer lettering, a non-computer process used “in graphic design, technical drafting and advertising from the early 1960s to early 1990s.” The resulting visual poems are intended by Beaulieu as “logos and slogans for… impossible businesses,” corporations that never existed, advertisements for inscrutable products.
While many of the poems seem precisely that, others sprawl like tentacled life forms — degraded, as if by age, rather than dated, frozen in a time that never was. Still others seem like maps of alien worlds, cities of language.
Beaulieu has a startling talent for producing letter patterns that seem somehow natural fits. Despite their stark artificiality, they seem somehow natural and inevitable. In this way, too, the poems operate like visual meditations on corporate transformation of our physical and psychic landscapes.