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Poetry Canadian

Bit Parts for Fools

by (author) Peter Richardson

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Oct 2013
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price

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Shortlisted, Archibald Lampman Award

In this lush collection of linguistic concatenations, Peter Richardson lines up the quotidian and the metaphysical, the personal and the fictional, and assigns equal standing to their rich complications. Whether his cast members take the ironic stance of an apostate jazz pianist or the hardball approach of a recovering stand-up comic, they invite us on an exuberant exploration of self that rewards multiple readings.

Ranging from a literate vernacular to high diction, the language of Bit Parts for Fools hints at a new hunger driving the poet's quirky observations and confirms once again that Richardson is a fine craftsman — all confidence and mischief, "whistling from scuffmark to scuffmark."

About the author

Peter Richardson is the author of three collections of poetry: Sympathy for Couriers, which won the 2008 A.M. Klein Poetry Award, An ABC of Belly Work, and A Tinker's Press. His poems have also appeared in magazines and journals such as Descant, Poetry, Sonora Review, the Malahat Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and the Rialto (UK). He lives in Gatineau, QC.

Peter Richardson's profile page


  • Short-listed, Archibald Lampman Award

Editorial Reviews

"Peter Richardson is pulling our legs in a rather spectacular fashion. One would have to search high and low, near and far, to find poetry as entertaining and flamboyant as that found in Bit Parts for Fools. These are poems that demand you read them two or three times, for the fun of it of course, but also for clarity. Richardson's exuberance is our reward in these richly textured works. ... Richardson is completely committed to the universe of each poem. ... Bit Parts for Fools by Peter Richardson is an immensely rewarding read. Can't recommend it highly enough."

"This is a chameleonic book, alive with ‘ancestral transmutations’. Richardson can write of ‘a gun-toting do-gooder on a buggy’ or evoke ‘bees nesting in crags above a shoreline of dirty syringes,’ and his words summon the mouth to savor them. Richardson's wit, formal skill, and verbal ingenuity make this not only his finest achievement to date but one of the best collections of poetry to appear in recent years."

Eric Ormsby

"Bit Parts for Fools crackles with innovative language, in the deliciously quirky titles and the poems themselves: elaborate, complex, and often wonderfully ambivalent. What might happen if you invent a language and use one phrase (‘broischni hydranya’) as an incantation, or page through a very unusual ‘mourner's abecedary’ that somehow combines ‘bestiary and breviary? This uniquely disarming voice uses chance and change to provide vivid takes on past and present lives and their unpredictable circumstances."

Jan Conn

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