In the pages of Gary Barwin's latest collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers, the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. No stranger to poetic experimentation, Barwin employs a range of techniques from the lyrical to the conceptual in order to explore loss, mortality, family, the self and our relationship to the natural world.
Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us?that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. He reveals how we construct both self and reality through these relationships and also considers the human in relation to the concepts of "nature" and "the animal."
As philosophical as it is entertaining?weaving together threads of surrealism, ecopoetics, Dada and more?No TV for Woodpeckers is a complex and multi-layered work that offers an unexpected range of pleasures.
About the author
Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and performer. He is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry and fiction including the poetry collections frogments from the frag pool: haiku after basho (written with derek beaulieu) and Raising Eyebrows and Outside the Hat (Coach House Books) and the fiction collections Doctor Weep and other strange teeth, Big Red Baby (The Mercury Press), and Cruelty to Fabulous Animals (Moonstone Press). He is the author of The Mud Game, a novel written with Stuart Ross (The Mercury Press). Barwin is also the author of several books for children including Seeing Stars, a young adult novel (Stoddart Kids) nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award and the CLA YA Book of the Year, and Killer Poodle Made Me Island King (Fox Meadow), co-winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon 2003. Barwin received a PhD in Music Composition and currently teaches music at Hillfield-Strathallan College and creative writing at McMaster University. Barwin lives in Hamilton, where he has cultivated vague but colourful illusions about his writing. Please don’t tell him.
"In its best pieces (including 'Grip,' 'In Memoriam,' the eerie 'Autopsy,' the intriguing 'Foot,' 'Gaspar' and a monologue called 'Alien Babies'), Barwin yokes his clowns to a serious chariot and arrives somewhere unique and utterly surprising." - The Globe and Mail
"Barwin's poems are struck through with a wide-eyed wonder, and when they aren?t revelling in the sound of language or crafting crazed imaginings, they work to dig out the strangeness of the everyday." - Winnipeg Free Press
"Again and again, Barwin shows us how charlatans, business interests, and technology come together to create cultural texts and interfaces that jam, compromise and contaminate our abilities to forge meaningful relationships with one another. But by worrying 'the empty spot' left by Ronnie Claire Edwards' death in the same way the speaker imagines his tongue will continually return to probe the socket of his soon to be extracted tooth, something transformative takes place. What Barwin commemorates in 'The Waltons, My Tooth, and the Oral Torah,' what he elegizes, is the elegiac mode itself, and by demonstrating what language can do, he allows us to feel, if only briefly, less lost, less lonely, and less alone." - Hamilton Review of Books
Other titles by Gary Barwin
Laurier Poetry Pack #5
Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted
The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy
Laurier Poetry Pack #4
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe
New and Selected Poems
I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457
Yiddish for Pirates
Selected and New Poetry of Paul Dutton
Moon Baboon Canoe
The Imaginary Kafka Parables
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