A vivid and exploratory poem on the life and ideas of Spinoza…
While reading Leonardo Padura’s novel Heretics Hildebrandt became fascinated by the tolerance that existed in Havana Cuba, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. These two cities became havens and harbours for Sephardic Jews initially driven out of the Middle East by Romans, then persecuted in Spain and Portugal by the Inquisitions of the Catholic Church. Hildebrandt uses a wide variety of people and characters to bring us a greater understanding of the two remarkable cities. These include Rembrandt, Spinoza, and the fictional characters detective Mario Conde, Elias and Judy from Heretics. This long poem is powerful, thought-provoking and engaging. Like his other long poems, Hildebrandt draws on an array of disciplines and forms, including history, culture, philosophy, fiction and diverse lyric and narrative poetics. In these troubled, increasingly intolerant times, Conatus is an important read.
About the author
Historian and poet Walter Hildebrant was born in Brooks, Alberta and now lives in Edmonton. He has worked as an historian for Parks Canada and as a consultant to the Treaty 7 Tribal Council, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Banff Bow Valley Task Force. He is co-author of The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 and The Cypress Hills: The Land and Its People, and author of Views From Battleford: Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West. His long poem Sightings was nominated for the 1992 McNally-Robinson Book of the Year for Manitoba. His book Where the Land Gets Broken won the Stephen G. Stephensson Award for Poetry in 2005. He is presently the Director of the Athabasca University Press. This is his seventh book of poetry.
Other titles by Walter Hildebrandt
Now Time / Jetztzeit / Nunc Stans
Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan
Our Dream Is That Our Peoples Will One Day Be Clearly Recognized as Nations
The Battle of Batoche
Small British Warfare and the Entrenched Métis
The Time in Between / Adorno's Daemons
Winnipeg from the Fringes
Views from Fort Battleford
Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West