This book is what happens when one person becomes completely enamoured of the landscape in the city where he livesespecially if this person, like John Terpstra, engages the world with the imagination and curiosity of a poet. Terpstra’s investigations centre around the Iroquois Bar, a giant glacial sandbar which lies beneath one of Hamilton’s busiest transportation corridors. Combining history and geology with gumshoe work and poetic intuition, Terpstra puzzles out just how much the physical and social geography of the area has changed since the sandbar was formed. This close study is nested inside a broader consideration of modern society’s constant and often ill-considered alteration of landscape. Terpstra’s acute focus on his neighbourhood offers insights of global value in a book that is both provocative and entertaining.
Listed as one of the Hamilton Spectator’s “Best books of the year” in 2002 for its appeal to “aficionados of history, geography, geology, poetic language, fine prose and the landscape around us.”
About the author
John Terpstra has published many books and chapbooks of poetry, the most recent of which, Disarmament, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2004. A retrospective of his work, Two or Three Guitars: Selected Poems, was published in 2006. Terpstra has also published three prose projects: Falling Into Place, a creative investigation of a giant glacial sandbar which lies beneath one of Canada’s busiest transportation corridors; The Boys, or, Waiting for the Electrician’s Daughter, the story of his wife’s three brothers, who lived with muscular dystrophy until their early twenties; and Skin Boat: Acts of Faith and Other Navigations, a frank reflection on faith and church in a secular era. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
“‘I am attached to a piece of landscape.’ Thus opens an enchanting journey through time and space, a trip along the shoreline of ancient Lake Iroquois, a ridge that runs from Burlington Heights to meet the escarpment at John Street South, with stops on the way to visit with Governor and Mrs. Simcoe, Richard and Henrietta Beasley, Sir Allan MacNab and other founders of the city of Hamilton. An original Canadian typeface, heavy cream paper, exquisite drawings by Wesley Bates and beautiful maps by Glenn Macdonald, with John Terpstra’s passion for his subject make Falling Into Place a masterwork. This is a book for aficionados of history, geography, geology, poetic language, fine prose and the landscape around us.” Susan Evans Shaw, Hamilton Spectator