Patrick Warner's Perfection — the follow-up to his award-winning Mole — makes a carnival of our most potent and dangerous obsessions. A factory outlet sells designer human parts at cut-rate prices, a midlife crisis becomes a cleansing ritual, a chocolate-chip pancake stands accused at trial, and the predatory voice of anorexia speaks to a transfixed audience. In descending the rabbit hole of this wildly imaginative collection, we find ourselves amid a field of engagement where destructive ideals of beauty, politics, art, romantic love, and spirituality are ambushed by roguish parody, acerbic satire, life-affirming laughter, and a hard-won pragmatism. And while Warner's trademark playfulness and formal ingenuity remain intact, his classic arms-length objectivity gives ground to a private and autobiographical directness of style often evaded in his earlier work. In Perfection, where death is certain and certainty is hell-bent on death, Warner refuses to rest on his laurels, continuing to build on his reputation as one of the most respected voices in Canadian poetry.
About the author
In 2007, Patrick Warner won the E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize Award for his collection, There, there. His first collection of poetry, All Manner of Misunderstanding, was nominated for the 2002 Atlantic Poetry Prize and for the 2003 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards. His work has been published in TickleAce, The Fiddlehead, Matrix, Signal, the Sunday Telegram (St. John's), Poetry Ireland Review, and Metre (Ireland). He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.
"And there you have it: Warner's gift for casting a spell with the sure-wristedness of an experienced fisherman."
Ruth Roach Pierson
"Patrick Warner eases through the misery of the mundane we all endure as humans. Sure, pathos and those other Mouseketeers show up, but these tongues are looking for cheek. Perfection is a hearty breath of grit. ... Warner is riffing redolent and with a roue's regard. This is fun, articulate stuff. ... Warner's poems are rooted to an oral tradition that splashes words against the rocks of reason to watch the rainbow in the mist and spray."
"Warner relishes, in each poem, the discovery of the ugly, the reveal of the rotting underneath and inside. The rhythms feel sometimes like heavy boots on the feet, worn loosely with the laces untied, the writing tumbling occasionally into poetic grace — that silent melody which pulls the readers in by their necks."
"Warner's poems can be comical, tender, brutal... they are always enlightening in their implied connections, sublime in their musical inventiveness."
"Warner's poetic here often reminds me of Don Coles, whose sense of craft sometimes seems coldly objective: illuminating, but not warming. Subjects with great emotional potential are observed through a detached lens. When it works well, the poem contains an explosive punch and has the music and mechanics to set you up to release it. Warner does this consistently well, and when you come to a warm poem, like ‘Thanksgiving,’ he does that well, too.’ "
"A complex poet, capable of seriousness and thought as well as whimsy and play."