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Poetry Canadian

Plans Deranged by Time

The Poetry of George Fetherling

by (author) George Fetherling

edited by A.F. Moritz

Publisher
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2012
Category
Canadian, Poetry
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781554586318
    Publish Date
    Jan 2012
    List Price
    $19.99
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781554586493
    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price
    $11.99

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Description

The Toronto Star called him a legendary figure in Canadian writing, and indeed George Fetherling has been prolific in many genres: poetry, history, travel narrative, memoir, and cultural studies. Plans Deranged by Time is a representative selection from many of the twelve poetry collections he has published since the late 1960s. Like his novels and other fiction, many of these poems are anchored in a sense of place—often a very urban one. Filled with aphorism and sharp observation, the poems are spare of line and metaphor; they display a kind of elegant realism: loading docks, back doors of restaurants, doughnut shops with karate schools upstairs.

In the introduction, A.F. Moritz places Fetherling in the modern picaresque tradition in the aftermath of Eliot and Pound, highlighting his characteristic speaker as an itinerant cosmopolitan outsider, a kind of flâneur, impoverished and keenly observant, writing from a position of “communion-in-isolation.” He contrasts Fetherling’s contemplative intellectualism with that of the public intellectual and highlights this outsider’s fellow-feeling, making the poems indirectly political.

Fetherling’s afterword is an anecdote-anchored exploration of what the poet sees as his two central approaches—“the desire to create new codes of hearing” and “writing-to-heal”—and how they are reflected in the collection.

About the authors

A.F. Moritz has published more than twenty collections of poetry as well as important works of literary history and numerous translations of Latin American verse. A leading figure in the literary life of Canada, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a major award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Two of his most recent works have reaffirmed his reputation: Night Street Repairs (2004) received the ReLit Award and The Sentinel (2008) won both the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine and the Griffin Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of Toronto.

George Fetherling's profile page

George Fetherling has been writing and publishing for more than forty-five years. One of his most popular works is Travels by Night: A Memoir, which recreates leading personalities and events in the fabled Canadian cultural renaissance of 1965–75. His most recent books are The Sylvia Hotel Poems and the novel Walt Whitman’s Secret, both published in 2010. Fetherling is also a visual artist.

A.F. Moritz has published more than twenty collections of poetry as well as important works of literary history and numerous translations of Latin American verse. A leading figure in the literary life of Canada, he has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a major award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Two of his most recent works have reaffirmed his reputation: Night Street Repairs (2004) received the ReLit Award and The Sentinel (2008) won both the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine and the Griffin Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of Toronto.

A.F. Moritz's profile page

Excerpt: Plans Deranged by Time: The Poetry of George Fetherling (by (author) George Fetherling; edited by A.F. Moritz)

Art Criticism by George Fetherling

Je suis ici pour faire des achats de dynamite.

— Blaise Cendrars

 

There are no guarantees

that anything will last

especially when you use

these inferior materials.

Thick chemical gesso

slides onto recycled canvas

one coat horizontal

the next vertical;

as soon as one dries,

another arrives to

contradict it.

I can’t stand the silence.

My ears chafe waiting

for the tune of a catchy explosion.

I am the neighbourhood dynamiter

who never knows when opportunity

might strike. One must always

be alert and heavily armed

against success and its enemies.

This is how I am.

I have no patience

with craft for its own sake

not like the old

Chinese man standing

in his garden every morning

applying more red lacquer

to his coffin.

When the surface is hard

and shiny like a beetle

he will be venerated as only

the ancient dead can be.

I will be scattered over a wide area.

Parts of me may never be found.

Editorial Reviews

''[Fetherling's] images are not simply precise and evocative; they are also witty.... Many of his poems tend toward aperçu or epigram. The reader is constantly surprised by an unexpected analogy. Moritz in his erudite and densely allusive introduction...bring[s] out those elements of Fetherling's critical self-examination that underlie his empathy for members of the similarly disillusioned wider community, and makes a good case for recommending Fetherling's poetry to the expanded audience it deserves.''

Event (Douglas College), 42.1

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