On a book page, this tab will allow you to add a book to one of your lists.
Please login or register to use this feature.
9781772012071_cover Enlarge Cover
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $24.95
edition:Paperback
published: Sep 2018
ISBN:9781772012071
publisher: Talonbooks

Almost Islands

Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten

by Stephen Collis

0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $24.95
edition:Paperback
published: Sep 2018
ISBN:9781772012071
publisher: Talonbooks
Description

Almost Islands is a powerfully introspective memoir of the author’s friendship with legendary Canadian poet Phyllis Webb – now in her nineties and long enveloped in silence – and his regular trips to see her. It is an extended meditation on literary ambition and failure, poetry and politics, choice and chance, location, colonization, and climate change – the struggle that is writing, and the end of writing.

I go to see her because she is poetry’s old crone and I am seeking. I go to her – usually three, four times a year – because it is a small ministration I can perform for her, and for her poetry, as she slowly reaches into the finite – a long, slow embrace of nothing … If living is a process of learning how to die, then is writing a process of learning how to stop writing? I go in search of lost words, in search of the hoped-for defence against the loss of words, drawn to the shaping sounds of fate and mortality.

A meticulous collection of poetic, political, and philosophical digressions, Almost Islands weaves numerous themes together. At its crux lies a literary project: to build upon and extend Webb’s exposition of a “poetic” sense of the political, by proposing a political agent, the “Biotariat,” a government of Life, that is both human and more than human – arrived at after following as many pathways as possible through Webb’s own reading and thought. Ultimately, Almost Islands is a book obsessed with the problem of Webb’s not writing, and the implications of this for a writer like Collis who, in his own words, may be writing “too much” – as well as the wider social, political, and world-historical implications of withdrawal, self-silencing, and not-doing.

Contributor Notes

Stephen Collis’s many books of poetry include The Commons (Talonbooks, 2008; 2014), On the Material (Talonbooks, 2010 – awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), DECOMP (with Jordan Scott – Coach House, 2013), and Once in Blockadia (Talonbooks 2016 – nominated for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature). He has also written two books of literary criticism, a book of essays on the Occupy Movement, and a novel. Almost Islands is a forthcoming memoir, and a long poem, Sketch of a Poem I Will Not Have Written, is in progress. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.

Reader Reviews

Sign Up or Sign In to add your review or comment.

Other Titles by Stephen Collis

On the Material

On the Material

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info
Anarchive

Anarchive

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info
Mine

Mine

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info
Companions & Horizons

Companions & Horizons

An Anthology of Simon Fraser University Poetry
edited by Stephen Collis
edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info

User Activity

X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...