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Poetry General

Mining For Sun

by (author) John Reibetanz

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2000
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    Publish Date
    Sep 2000
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2000
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Shortlisted for the 2001 ReLit Awards

John Reibetanz is good on grief: "You, mother,/ dying, left what was hard first:/ bones weeping into/ / your veins like flutes, teeth/ vanished on some hospital/ lunch tray" This conjunction of a profound sense of loss with the clearest-eyed observation and acceptance of the entropy of the mundane is characteristic. His poetry has a cultural breadth seldom seen in Canadian writing. He sees the pageantry of the Bayeux tapestry with the eyes of a rural quilter, whose son died beneath a tractor, who would focus on "the spear -- strayed from the main design -/ / that takes a wide-mouthed Tabourer aback,/ and recognize the pain/ of someone caught in the wreck/ of a vast, wayward machine."

His lucidity and eloquence have earned the praise of such celebrated poets as Richard Howard and Richard Wilbur. But it is always the heart's music which most informs his poetic craft: and that is what keeps it true.

About the author

John Reibetanz was born in New York City, and grew up in the eastern United States and Canada. He put himself through university by working at numerous non-poetic jobs, and is probably the only member of the League of Canadian Poets to have belonged to the Amalgamated Meatcutters Union. A finalist for both the National Magazine Awards (Canada) and the National Poetry Competition (United States), he has given readings of his poetry in most major cities in North America. His poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry (Chicago), The Paris Review, Canadian Literature, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, The Southern Review, and Quarry. His fifth collection, Mining For Sun (Brick Books, 2000), was shortlisted for the ReLit Poetry Award; his sixth, Near Relations, was published by McClelland and Stewart in 2005. In 2003 he was awarded First Prize in the international Petra Kenney Poetry Competition. John Reibetanz lives in Toronto with his wife and three children, and he teaches at Victoria College, University of Toronto, where he received the first Victoria University Teaching Award. In addition to poetry, he has written essays on Elizabethan drama and on modern and contemporary poetry, as well as a book on King Lear and a book of translations of modern German poetry. When he is not writing or teaching, he bicycles, kayaks, reads local history, and listens passionately to 1930s jazz.

John Reibetanz's profile page

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