A muscle’s “twitch force” is a measurement of its energy potential. It’s history dependent: you can forget it, but it’s engraved on you where you can’t see it, and all it wants to do is repeat. Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Michael Redhill’s first collection of poetry in eighteen years, Twitch Force has a gnomic, satirical, and lucid intelligence. In “Ingredients,” heredity’s recipe is told via short-form family narrative; in “My Arrangements,” a stolen laptop battery leads to an encounter with the Israeli Olympic women’s beach volleyball team; while in “The Women,” human beauty is parsed down to the level of chromosomes: “I’m beautiful; I have my mother’s feet. The women who change into men are beautiful men who were once beautiful women.”
This is poetry concerned with love and its loss, despair and hard-won hope, knowledge and essential mystery, aging and timelessness. Readers are cautioned: ideas that present as self-explanatory may be closer than they appear. Twitch Force is a stunningly realized return to the form from one of Canada’s bravest and most original poets.
About the author
Michael Redhill was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Toronto most of his life. Educated in the United States and Canada, he took seven years to complete a three-year BA in acting, film, and finally, English. Since 1988, he has published five collections of poetry, had eight plays of varying lengths performed, and been a cultural critic and essayist. He has worked as an editor, a ghost-writer, an anthologist, a scriptwriter for film and television, and in leaner times, as a waiter, a house-painter, and a bookseller. Michael is a former publisher and one of the editors of Brick, a journal of things literary. His most recent books are Fidelity, a collection of short fiction, from Doubleday Canada, Martin Sloane, a novel from Doubleday Canada (nominated for the Giller Prize, 2001; the Trillium Prize, 2001; the Torgi Award, 2002; the City of Toronto Book Award, 2002; the Books in Canada/Amazon.com Best First Novel Prize, 2002; and winner of the Commonwealth Writersâ?? Prize for Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean, 2001); Light-Crossing, a collection of poetry from Torontoâ??s House of Anansi Press; and Building Jerusalem, a play from Playwrights Canada Press (winner of the 2001 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play; recipient of a Chalmers Canadian Play Award, 2001; and nominated for a Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award, 2001). His new play, Goodness was published by Coach House Press in 2005 His latest novel, Consolation, was published by Doubleday Canada in 2006 and won the 2007 Toronto Book Award. It was also long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
- Commended, A CBC Book of the Year
Redhill packs a hell of a punch. As someone once remarked of Sonny Liston: ‘He hurts when he breathes on you.
Full of short, snappy sentences, quick turnarounds, straight talk, science facts, and conversational diction . . . Poems ready to pounce.
Globe and Mail