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Poetry Canadian


by (author) Ken Norris

Initial publish date
Sep 2003
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2003
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Fifty is the book Ken Norris began writing when he was 47 and stopped writing on the day he turned 50. It is both a counting and an accounting. He writes of love found and love lost, of children growing and parents dying, of political injustice, of the slow crawl through a Northern winter, of being in the genuine middle of life. Among its widely diverse poetic forms, the book constructs odes, elegies, sonnets and long poem sequences, following Norris’s footsteps as he travels from Maine to Santo Domingo, from Phnom Penh to Montreal, from the shorelines of the Caribbean Sea to the banks of the Mekong River.

In its seeming offhandedness, Fifty discloses an elegant gesture. All the complexities of human life are laid bare here, with candour, dexterity, wit and intelligence. These are poetic meditations on what’s been left behind, what one wishes could be done over, and they take a measure of the worth of what’s left to do as a participant in the perilous world of the twenty-first century. They intimate a future more dangerously elemental, a world both more sure of itself and less predictable, less tolerant of those who hesitate and more demanding of those on the move.

About the author

Ken Norris was born in New York City in 1951. He emigrated to Canada in the early seventies, where he quickly became one of the infamous Vehicule Poets, essential in helping to develop and maintain a particular style of Anglo-poetry in Montreal.


One of Canada’s most prolific poets, Ken Norris has always given his readers subtly capricious and edgy poetry that reveals unanticipated possibilities and explores new horizons. He is the author of two dozen books and chapbooks of poetry, and is the editor of eight anthologies of poetry and poetics. His work has been widely anthologized in Canada and throughout the English-speaking world, as well as published in translation in France, Belgium, Israel and China. Quebec poet Pierre Des Ruisseaux has translated two of his books into French, La route des limbes (Limbo Road, Écrits des Forges) and Hotel Montréal (Éditions du Noroît).


Norris teaches Canadian literature and creative writing at the University of Maine. He divides his time between Canada, the United States and Asia.


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