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Poetry General

Bastardi Puri

by (author) Walid Bitar

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Apr 2005
General, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2005
    List Price

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Ezra Pound famously defined literature as 'news that stays news'. Bastardi Puri, which launches from the political and aspires to the universal, is just that sort of news.

About the author

Walid Bitar has previously published three other books of poetry: Maps with Moving Parts (Brick Books), Guys on Holy Land (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England), and Bastardi Puri (The Porcupine `s Quill). He has also been published in four anthologies, including The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry (Signal Editions/VÈhicule Press) and in journals across Canada and the United States. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lives in Toronto.

Walid Bitar's profile page

Editorial Reviews

'Beirut-born Canadian immigrant Walid Bitar presents Bastardi Puri, a collection of free-verse poetry that feels like a hybrid cross between raw emotion, vibrant energy, caustic wit, and painful revelation. From the mundane to life-changing events, Bastardi Puri offers a captivating portrait of the rough edges of life. Developing Countries: Though eyewitnesses insist history's sleep is light, / it's rather heavy, and hardly stirred / if a bottle breaks in an alley, used as the chronicler is / to winking with a hotelier's Brummagem composure. // The next think you know lobster and iguana / are mistaken for viola and violin / in kitchens whose acoustics have in them a Spartacus / to lead the others in revolt, muffling any fugue. // I'd drown it out by landing helicopters, / metal teabags to the boiling gods, / as any make-up man knows, and my conscience, / which is a lagging indicator, and unemployment rate.'

Midwest Book Review

'This third collection from the Beirut-born Bitar is postmodern and ironic, by turns comic and bitter.'

Globe and Mail

'... simultaneously suave and ferocious, packed with phrases sharp enough to slice through tender sensibilities.'

Toronto Star

'The poems in Walid Bitar's third collection are, as the book's paradoxical title suggests, pure bastards. The poetics of Bitar, a Lebanese-born Canadian, are characterized by typically postmodern concers: fractured subjectivity; the malleability of language and its potential for use as propaganda; self-reflective narration; geographic rootlessness; a predominantly ironic tone. Bitar's formal methodology, however, is hardly avant-garde. He employs rhyme, metre, the sonnet, and that workhorse of metrical poetry, the quatrain, to great effect.'

Quill & Quire

'Bastardi Puri is true farrago: half manifesto, half absurdist drama. Bitar does what workshoppees are forbidden to do -- deal with abstractions. ... Eternity, Fate, Morality, Time, Art, The Self, Reality, Perception, History and Man become characters in his tragi-comedy. To back him up, Bitar calls on heavyweights from Greek mythology and Shakespearian tragedies. His bizarre narratives deal with questions of representation, the treachery of language, cultural identity and the spectre of Big Brother with striking originality.'

Canadian Literature

'Playful, disingenuous, bitter, comic, ironic, and randy for ambiguity, the poems of Walid Bitar's third collection, Bastardi Puri, present us with a not altogether unfamiliar postmodern window on the world.'

Books in Canada

'Each poem in this collection bludgeons its readers into a confrontation with the paradox of postmodern living. Swooning amid the vertigo of Bitar's ''unaligned'' stanzas, the reader cannot remain within the comfort zone of language. It is often very challenging, but is, nonetheless, a highly rewarding experience for those who dare.'

Scene magazine

Other titles by Walid Bitar