Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry Canadian

Tasting the Dark

New and Selected Poems

by (author) George Amabile

J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing
Initial publish date
Apr 2001
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2001
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Since his first collection of poems appeared in 1972, George Amabile has quietly become one of our country’s most accomplished poets. Tasting the Dark presents a choice selection of his best work over the years and a substantial collection of his new poems. These are poems that open up and reach out, hungry to taste their fill of light as well as darkness, to taste grief and joy and rage and beauty—and to speak of it all with eloquent and sensuous precision. Selected poems include Amabile’s deeply moving and now famous elegy "Accidental Death," the shocking childhood memoir "First Kill," the complete suite of his lyrical "Anima" poems, and numerous other works. By turns funny, profound, and heartbreaking, this collection is hot with passion for life. The new poems collected here show Amabile at the height of his powers. Amabile observes his world with a combination of fierce wit and powerful tenderness, all shot through with magical imagery—the glass antlers of iced branches in winter, a child dancing to the music of a waterfall, a flock of red balloons cut loose by a machete.

About the author

George Amabile has published his poetry, fiction and non-fiction in the USA, Canada, Europe, England, Wales, South America, Australia and New Zealand in over a hundred anthologies, magazines, journals and periodicals including The New Yorker, The New Yorker Book of Poems, Harper's, Poetry (Chicago), American Poetry Review, Botteghe Oscure, The Globe and Mail, The Malahat Review, The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse, Saturday Night, Poetry Australia, Sur (Buenos Aires), Poetry Canada Review, Canadian Literature, and Margin (England).

He was Writer in Residence at University of British Columbia for 1969-70, co-founder and editor of The Far Point, founder and editor of Northern Light, has edited a dozen titles for Nuage Editions, Signature Editions, Penguin and has published eight books. The Presence of Fire (McClelland & Stewart, 1982), won the CAA National Prize for literature; his long poem, Durée, placed third in the CBC Literary Competition for 1991; 'Popular Crime' won first prize in the Sidney Booktown International Poetry Contest in February, 2000; 'Road to the Sky' received an honorable mention National Magazine Award for 2000, 'What We Take with Us, Going Away' was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Prize in 2003 and he is the subject of a special issue of Prairie Fire, (Vol. 21, No. 1, May 2000). From October 2000 to April 2001 he was Writer in Residence at the Winnipeg Public library.

'Dimuendo' was awarded third prize in the Petra Kenney International Poetry Competition for 2005 and 'A Raft of Lilies' won second place in the MAC national poetry contest, 'Friends' (2007). He has performed his poems on the CBC, at numerous venues in Canada and the USA, and at the Olympics in Montreal.

His most recent publications are Dancing, with Mirrors (Porcupine's Quill, 2011), Tasting the Dark: New and Selected Poems (The Muses Company, an imprint of Gordon J. Shillingford Publishing, 2001), and Rumours of Paradise / Rumours of War (McClelland and Stewart, 1995).

George Amabile's profile page

Other titles by