A new collection by the winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry.
Tim Lilburn’s award-winning work has observed the natural world with an intensity of seeing and a reverence that shifts the way we understand our lives. Now, in his brilliant new collection of poems, Lilburn has turned his meticulous, unerring eye to an intimate, utterly compelling exploration of the body’s fall into illness. These haunting poems take the reader below the surface of things into a peculiar world of personal and social alteration. Its incantatory insistence and its shocking imagistic leaps make the poetry a sustained act of therapy, a ritual instrument for change.
About the author
Tim Lilburn was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. He has published eight books of poetry, including To the River, Kill-site, and Orphic Politics. His work has received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for Kill-site and the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award (for To the River), among other prizes. Lilburn has produced two essay collections, both concerned with poetics, eros, and politics, Living in the World as if It Were Home and Going Home, and edited two other collections on poetics, Poetry and Knowing and Thinking and Singing: Poetry and the Practice of Philosophy. He was a participant in the 2008 Pamirs Poetry Journey. Lilburn teaches at the University of Victoria.
Excerpt: Orphic Politics (by (author) Tim Lilburn)
Someone wearing a vest of radon implants
coaxed my tongue to be sweetly laid out in a kurgan of rain.
This is the rain’s nest, he said, where you will be joined
by the skin of a galloping horse held up by sticks.
Just then God’s mouth filled with lead.
People at that time started, it seemed, to bleed
in the streets from their ears.
This wasn’t force of listening, they
just were scraped by some large thing moving past,
sleet of arrows, yielding shelf of stones.
I stared at them, peak, peak, peak. The quills in their hands
and feet slicked into me, over
the border into me like I was being shot up, quietly and in secret
by drum solos.
Let us dip the tip of horror in horror.
Randy went down, Albert rappelled under the waves.
Something, all we’d never said, was eating
up from below.
St. Teresa of Avila was sitting in a gold chair
in a breathing-through-a-straw house in a suburb
quite far out, where what she’s saying — it eggs slowly from
her mouth — is taken up in spikes along the back legs of the hum
from swelling, overhead wires.
“Striking and original. . . . [Lilburn captures] the mystical and ecstatic moments when self and world are united.” — Booklist
“At its best, this is avant-garde lyricism the haunting utterances of which would make Rilke shiver, and so should be welcomed.”
- Globe and Mail
Other titles by Tim Lilburn
Interiority and Climate Change
The House of Charlemagne
The Larger Conversation
Contemplation and Place
The Griffin Poetry Prize 2011 Anthology
Desire Never Leaves
The Poetry of Tim Lilburn
Writing the Terrain
Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets