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Poetry Canadian

The End Is in the Middle

MAD fold-in poems

by (author) Daniel Scott Tysdal

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Canadian, Mental Health
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it


Shortlisted, Nelson Ball Prize
Longlisted, Raymond Souster Award
Long-Shortlisted, ReLit Award (Poetry)

Daring in form and unflinching in its gaze, Daniel Scott Tysdal’s latest poetry collection examines madness as lived experience and artistic method. Taking inspiration from Al Jaffee’s illustrated fold-ins in MAD magazine, Tysdal explores living with mental illness through a new kind of poetry: the fold-in poem.

In this innovative collection, each poem does not end at the bottom of the page; instead, the reader is invited to complete the poem by folding the page to reveal the final line. From the effects of being “smiled into an elephantine line” at Pearson International Airport to the rites of official memory and forgetting at a baseball game in the aftermath of tragedy, Tysdal probes both his own psyche and the myriad environments that work to enfold those who are deemed mad.

About the author

Daniel Scott Tysdal is the author of two previous books of poetry, The Mourner's Book of Albums and Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method, winner of the ReLit Award for Poetry, the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award, and the John V. Hicks Award. Tysdal's poems have also appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. His book The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems was recently published by Oxford University Press. He teaches English at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Daniel Scott Tysdal's profile page


  • Short-listed, ReLit Award (Poetry)
  • Short-listed, Nelson Ball Prize
  • Long-listed, Raymond Souster Award

Editorial Reviews

“Tysdal creates and inhabits a space where Mad magazine and madness rub against one another, where his students and Eurydice, John Clare and B-movie monsters and filmmakers belong to the same web of connection and where poetry is survival.”

<i>Winnipeg Free Press</i>

“Daniel Scott Tysdal has done what I would have thought impossible: he’s written beautiful, musical, language-y — maddeningly to die for — poems about a life haunted by constant thoughts of killing yourself. Far from being a downer, The End Is in the Middle is playful and exuberant, a testament to poetry and art pro viding sustenance when all else seems hopeless. In Tysdal’s hands, poetry is indispensably alive and in the middle of everything.”

Sylvia Legris, author of <i>Garden Physic</i>

“The bright artfulness of its language and its deep curiosity over form and the world (in all its violence and splendour) guarantees a gaggle of ideal readers invited into a community of ‘snowflakes [who] uniquely blizzard with snowflakes of words.’”


“Like the finest origami, Daniel Scott Tysdal’s The End Is in the Middle crimps and pleats new worlds into life. Each piece invites us to climb mountains and ford valleys along the way, rewarding us with “the possible infinity of enclosures opening on their only impossible escape.” New textures and relations unfold between each crease, producing a work that is masterful, unruly, haptic, and gorgeous.”

Adrian De Leon, author of <i>barangay: an offshore poem</i>

“At the corner drugstore, each new issue of MAD would come out, the last page already folded numerous times by those who got there before me (buying the fresh unfolded copy). Daniel Scott Tysdal is that rarest of birds, he is nothing but heart. This rugged terrain could readily crush most, those who lack the gravitas, good meds, or a decent pair of sneaks. Only a playful lover, a jester, The Fool themself could wield such rococo tactical hullabaloo. In flares. I dare you not to fold every fucking page of this book. Go on. I dare you. I’m simply mad about the boy.”

KIRBY, author of <i>Poetry Is Queer</i>

The End Is in the Middle does the serious, revolutionary, and indeed playful work of poetry. It uses the irreverent and legendary MAD magazine fold-in form to subvert the effects and residues of mental illness in deftly crafted and incisive poems. These unique poems function on multiple levels: puzzle, physical object, art, testimony, and, snake-folded upon themselves, a map to what else could be true. Their speaker searches insistently: How might we “gather while hunted?” Warring for peace, raging against oblivion, fighting for love? And what else is humanity, if not these?”

Tolu Oloruntoba, author of <i>Each One a Furnace</i>

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