A tenderman is a crew member of a fishing vessel, a fisherman, someone who hauls live fish to the shore every day. In The Dark Set, the Tenderman is a character from another time, a worker in a lost resource culture, who is both a breathing artifact of a rough-edged, wilder past and a representative of uncomfortable human traits that rise out of ignorance and a failure of empathy. A fiercely independent everyman, the Tenderman is Bowling's way of wrestling with his own conflicted feelings about masculinity, history, citizenship and power. The division between the poet and the tenderman is wide, but he is a kind of shadow brother, a solitary visitor from a world North America repeatedly tries, and fails, to leave behind.
Tim Bowling is the author of twenty books of poetry and prose. His work in poetry, fiction and non-fiction has earned him five Alberta Book Awards, two Canadian Authors Association Awards, an Acorn-Plantos Award for Peoples Poetry, two Governor General's Award nominations, two Writers' Trust of Canada Award nominations, a Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Like the tenderman of whom he writes, Bowling is marginally employed, without job security, benefits or a pension. He lives with his family in Edmonton.
"The lyrics in this sequel are continually wrenching, slyly-winking, steeped in homages to both literary predecessors and the trajectories of the submerged working men of the Fraser River." - Catherine Owen, Marrow Reviews