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Poetry Canadian


by (author) Catherine Owen

Anvil Press Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2009
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2009
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In Greek mythology the muses preside over the arts and inspire writers and artists to produce works of genius. In 'Frenzy', Catherine Owen pays homage to the muses in a six-part compilation of muse-quests, some the author's, some those of others. In "Flood-Ghazals," she takes the leaping form of the Persian ghazal and makes it fluid, out of entirely, loosened from its couplet bounds and set free as an unravelled block of threads. "Cobalt Moments" are paeans to a place and its temporalinhabitants-a punk-metal bar in Vancouver and some of its crazy denizens, an attempt to capture the rhythms of this hypnotizing zone of intense music and liminal people. "Opposite Angel's" is a satirical fable of the muse-seeker. How the artist, perhaps unwittingly, ends up placing their muses, especially when they are human, alive, and of the desired gender, on a pedestal. "One Week in Her Life" covers eight random days, in which the poet rambles through the urban world, facing various incongruities, griefs, absurdities, while reveling in little glimpses of peace. "agitate" is a long poem about a photographer's sojourn along a Vancouver Island beach on a trek to chronicle sea surfaces. Environmental, gendered, and artistic critique collide in her mental and physical reality as she dreams of emerging from the frenzy to establish one pure moment of beauty in the world.

"Catherine Owen is a neo-romantic bard whose idiosyncratic poetry is barbed with aspects of Tough Love wed to the groom of nihilism. This poet wears a black mood for a wedding dress as she casts invective against bourgeois normalcy. Mistress of neologism and its conflicted ally-ambiguity?-this musifier is unabashedly shameless in making herself "lovesick". A poet taster's head spins, which may not be a bad thing. In an era of political correctness and its self-righteous terrorisms, Owen's muse skateboards over society's niceties as her love junkie heart leaps like an adolescent butterfly. Revel in the nuancesof light and darkness doing a tango in the ineffable quest for the muse's many forms." - Joe Rosenblatt (poet, artist, editor, and recipient of the Governor General's Literary Award)

"Catherine Owen is an extraordinarily gifted poet. It's not just the sheer sonic pleasure of her language or the largesse of her endlessly inventive imagery but that she is unsettled and unsettling, deeply disobedient and yet almost selfless in her surrender to form. These poems, and especially the Flood-Ghazals, take you down and then drag you up again, gasping for air." -Robert Priest (poet, songwriter, playwright, winner of the Milton Acorn Memorial People's Poetry Award)

About the author

Catherine Owen lives in New Westminster, BC. She is the author of ten collections of poetry, among them Designated Mourner (ECW, 2014), Trobairitz (Anvil Press 2012), Seeing Lessons (Wolsak & Wynn 2010) and Frenzy (Anvil Press 2009). Her poems are included in several recent anthologies such as Forcefield: 77 Women Poets of BC (Mothertongue Press, 2013) and This Place a Stranger: Canadian Women Travelling Alone (Caitlin Press, 2014). Stories have appeared in Urban Graffiti, Memwear Magazine, Lit N Image (US) and Toronto Quarterly. Her collection of memoirs and essays is called Catalysts: Confrontations with the Muse (W & W, 2012). Frenzy won the Alberta Book Prize and other collections have been nominated for the BC Book Prize, ReLit, the CBC Prize, and the George Ryga Award. In 2015, Wolsak & Wynn published her compendium on the practices of writing called The Other 23 and a Half Hours or Everything You Wanted to Know That Your MFA Didn’t Teach You. She works in TV, plays metal bass and blogs at Marrow Reviews.

Catherine Owen's profile page

Other titles by Catherine Owen