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Poetry General

Kingdom, Phylum

by (author) Adam Dickinson

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Aug 2006
General, Canadian
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
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    Publish Date
    Aug 2006
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Ecologically aware poems, hardwired to the intellect and the heart in equal measure.

Adam Dickinson's poems, with firm intellectual bite and imaginative scope, reach fresh levels of poetic -- and ecological -- awareness. Sometimes reminiscent of Wallace Stevens, sometimes of Christopher Dewdney, and with the ghost of Foucault always in attendance, they ply a language that is cool and precise on the surface to open into the deep resonance of geologic time. Imaginative and contemplative, this writing is bound to refresh the vision of the most world-weary reader.

For some time, we expected
the end of the world
to be a mushroom.
A vengeful good, a good
of fire, clouded thought.
But every spring they come out of the ground
like universal suffrage,
a writ of habeas corpus,
speech before writing.
They say, dirt. They say, get up.


from "The Good, part I"

The poems in Kingdom, Phylum push the boundaries of thought and language. Bringing lyrical and unsystematic modes of understanding into play, and keeping his ear tuned to the many disruptions involved in taxonomical arrangement, Dickinson shows how poetry both participates in, and unsettles, the provisional orders which develop between word and world.


" ... a poet intensely, intricately, and metaphorically engaged with the world, the natural world in particular." -- League of Canadian Poets website

" ... Dickinson's poems are luminous, subtle, and exceptional." -- Books in Canada

Adam Dickinson is a professor of poetry and poetics at Brock University. His first book, Cartography and Walking (1-894078-22-5), was shortlisted for an Alberta Book Award. He lives in St. Catharines.

About the author

Adam Dickinson's poetry has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and internationally. He has published three books of poetry. His most recent book, The Polymers, was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Poetry, the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and the ReLit Award. His work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, and Polish. He has been featured at international literary festivals such as Poetry International in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the Oslo International Poetry Festival in Norway. He teaches poetics and creative writing at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Adam Dickinson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

" ... Delightfully at ease with his knowledge of biology, taxonomy, geometry, geology, and such ... Dickinson understands our evolution, marries it to our enthrallment with religion, and creates poems that are marvelous manuals of the mechanics of blood and spirit."--Bill Roberston, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"He has flipped the Ôtechnique' of poetry on its head and brought it hurtlingÑlike atoms colliding and rushing with atomsÑup against the naming systems of science."--Jason Rostein, Event

"Rarely does a series of poems reverberate in the marrow, shake some essence of thought or being ... an exhilarating read. I have fallen into a whole new world of poetry because of it."--Yvonne Blomer, Arc Magazine

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