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Poetry Canadian

Before the First Word

The Poetry of Lorna Crozier

by (author) Lorna Crozier

edited by Catherine Hunter

Publisher
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2005
Category
Canadian, Literary, Canadian
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781554587117
    Publish Date
    Sep 2005
    List Price
    $11.99
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780889204898
    Publish Date
    Sep 2005
    List Price
    $19.99

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Description

Lorna Crozier’s radical imagination, and the finely tuned emotional intelligence that is revealed in the clarity of her poetry, have made her one of Canada’s most popular poets. Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier is a collection of thirty-five of her best poems, selected and introduced by Catherine Hunter, and includes an afterword by Crozier herself. Representing her work from 1985 to 2002, the collection reveals the wide range of Lorna Crozier’s voice in its most lyrical, contemplative, ironic, and witty moments. Hunter’s introduction discusses the poet’s major themes, with particular attention to her feminist approach to biblical myth and her fascination with absence and silence as sites for imaginative revision. Crozier’s afterword, “See How Many Ends This Stick Has: A Reflection on Poetry,” is a lyrical meditation that provides an inspirational glimpse into the philosophy of a writer who prizes the intensity of awareness that poetry demands, and is tantalized by what predates speaking and all that cant be named. An engaging volume that will appeal to undergraduate students as well as general readers of poetry.

Lorna Crozier’s work has won many awards, including the Governor Generals Award in 1992 (for Inventing the Hawk), the first prize for poetry in the CBC Literary Competition, the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry in 1992, a National Magazine Award in 1995, and two Pat Lowther Memorial Awards (1993 and 1996) for the best book of poetry by a Canadian woman. She has published fourteen books of poetry, most recently, Whetstone. Born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, she now lives in British Columbia, where she is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Victoria.

About the authors

Lorna Crozier, one of Canada's most celebrated poets, has read from her work on every continent. She has received numerous awards, including the Governor General's Award, for her fifteen books of poetry, which include The Blue Hour of the Day: Selected Poems; Whetstone; Apocrypha of Light; What the Living Won't Let Go; A Saving Grace; Everything Arrives at the Light; Inventing the Hawk; Angels of Flesh, Angels of Silence; and The Garden Going On Without Us. She has also edited several anthologies, among them Desire in Seven Voices and, with Patrick Lane, Addicted: Notes from the Belly of the Beast. She lives in Saanich, BC.

Lorna Crozier's profile page

Poet and novelist Catherine Hunter has published three collections of poetry, Necessary Crimes, Lunar Wake, and Latent Heat (which won the Manitoba Book of the Year Award); three thrillers, Where Shadows Burn, The Dead of Midnight, and Queen of Diamonds (Ravenstone Press); the novella In the First Early Days of My Death; and the spoken word CD Rush Hour (Cyclops Press), which includes a bonus track featuring The Weakerthans. Two of her novels have been translated into German. Her essays, reviews, and poems appear in many journals and anthologies, including Essays on Canadian Writing, The Malahat Review, West Coast Line, Prairie Fire, CV2, The Echoing Years: Contemporary Poetry from Canada and Ireland, and Best Canadian Poems 2013. She edited Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier, and for ten years she was the editor of The Muses’ Company press. She teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Winnipeg.

Catherine Hunter's profile page

Excerpt: Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier (by (author) Lorna Crozier; edited by Catherine Hunter)

What the Snake Brings to the World by Lorna Crozier

Without the snake

there'd be no letter S

No forked tongue and toil,

no pain and no sin. No wonder

the snake's without shoulders.

What could bear such a weight!

The snake's responsible for everything

that slides and hisses, that moves

without feet or legs. The wind for example.

The sea in its long sweeps to shore and out again.

The snake has done some good, then.

Even sin to the ordinary man

brings its pleasures. And without

the letter S traced belly-wise

outside the gates of Eden

we'd have to live

with the singular of everything:

sparrow, ear, heartbeat,

mercy, truth.

Editorial Reviews

''In a sense, it is a Best of Lorna Crozier.... These editions stand out by providing a thorough introduction to the work (written here by another poet) and an afterword by the poet herself. The intention is good, and this book itself is admirable.... Hunter's selections are excellent, ranging from Crozier's amusing and racy vegetable poems through her moving poems about love and family and on to her recent revisions of Old Testament stories.... I particularly like Crozier's own closing essay, a valuable discussion of the mysteries and gaps that mark the poet's trade....Crozier honours the simple but profound task of attention that both writing and reading poetry demands, and is unafraid to call it a kind of 'devotion.' The Erica Grimm Vance painting on the cover, Growing Fiery Wings, is an entirely appropriate choice for this volume. It features a woman both earthbound and ethereal, struggling to perform some feat that will undoubtedly be powerful.''

Prairie Fire

''There's a lot of different material pulled together between two covers. It should give readers a good bird's-eye view of a writer's life and work. I think it's a great idea.''

Lorna Crozier about the Laurier Poetry series,

''Before the First Word is a part of a new series of texts from Wilfrid Laurier University Press that strive to bring Canadian poets to a larger audience. Without pretence and with an eye to producing the effect of improvisation, these collections come selected and introduced by a critic with an afterword from the poet represented. This project is one of the most exciting, cooperative, communal and familial endeavours that I have seen coming out of the poetry establishment in the past few years and all of my praise goes out to Wilfrid Laurier Press for their efforts.''

PoetryReviews, May 19, 2007

''The quest for a wider audience for poetry may be quixotic, but this series makes a serious attempt to present attractive, affordable selections that speak to contemporary interests and topics that might engage a younger generation of readers. Yet it does not condescend, preferring to provide substantial and sophisticated poets to these new readers. At the very least, these slim volumes will make very useful introductory teaching texts in post-secondary classrooms because they whet the appetite without overwhelming.''

Canadian Literature, 193, Summer 2007

Other titles by Lorna Crozier

Other titles by Catherine Hunter