Impressive craft by one of most important Canadian poets.
The poems singing in this new collection move like swifts. They alight, but only briefly, before their smooth lifts, angles and hair-trigger turns take us places we had not expected to go. Each poem, one sentence long and separated by commas, tracks the movement of the mind. Occasionally using words and phrases from Middle English and Low German, the poems touch on musical influences, the changes in language over the centuries and on the dissolutions, dilemmas and inevitabilities of old age. "Moonlight sassing the room, ... hear them, them strange voices, ...a lonely cellist persists, dangling sound from a string, ... but a last love, too late to last long." A beautiful body of work, the poet at his finest.
About the author
Patrick Friesen is the author of Blasphemer's Wheel, winner of the Manitoba Book of the Year Award and runner-up for the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award. A Broken Bowl was short-listed for the Governor General's Award. His most recent work st. mary at main was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He has also written for stage, radio, TV and film. He lives in Vancouver where he teaches writing.
Patrick Friesen's newest collection Carrying the Shadow is a haunting ode to the lives we have felt too briefly, known only in passing and yearn to hold still. While those who loved them keen softly between his lines, Friesen invokes their loss as one remembers a cool breath on the back of the neck, a faint shadow on a headstone, a watermark on the bedstand. With wisdom and beauty and invention, Friesen walks us through the graveyard of human kind where a symphony of voices still conduct the lives left behind long after they depart flesh for spirit. Intermingling prose poems and traditional free verse, Friesen both narrates and sings the stories of absence and forgetting, tales of lingering memory and fleeting love. With infinite candor and sensitivity, Friesen celebrates the lives of idols and iconoclasts, wives and widows, farmers and freeloaders. For anyone who has urged another title in the canon of Friesen's award-winning work, here is a collection worthy of accolade. Death has no dominion, but poetry has dominion over all.