Shortlisted for the 2016 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
Peter Midgley does not shy away from politics, whether documenting efforts to uproot colonialism or the number of murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. In these dramatic and uncompromising poems, Midgley roves between Canada and Africa, stopping briefly to consider struggles for democracy in places as diverse as Hong Kong and Ancient Rome. With lines that look for justice and record our search for human dignity, Midgley shows us "bodies silent as crocodiles on the kavango" and how "freedom is a lovely word, thin as a thousand paper lights." But still the poet finds time to dream beside a campfire, to caress a beloved or contemplate the "lilied throat of evening."
Working in a variety of languages and referencing traditional African poem forms, Midgley expands our ideas of poetry and language in this book. These are physical poems, poems where you can hear the shells exploding and feel the sea ice closing in on you, poems that linger long in your memory.
Peter Midgley is an author, editor and playwright based in Edmonton. His plays have been performed in Namibia and South Africa. Born in Namibia and raised there and in South Africa, he came to Canada in 1999 with his family to pursue his studies and found himself staying.
"Unquiet Bones is delirious with language: I see several African languages, Afrikaans, Latin, French. It honours all of them and reminds the reader of the physicality, substantiality of words. They are just beautiful to hold in the mouth. Yes they perform other functions, but just consider their heft and sinuousness." — Tim Lilburn
"In Midgley's poems, the 'I' seeks not to dominate a vista but to find openings into human dwelling in all its variousness, its presence and its fear, its absence and its love. The result is a wandering that is truly Spinozan — his lines, languages, encounters, multiply in avid interstices, in rhythms that enact and multiply meanings and resonances. The poems are living bodies both affected by and affecting others in the world, and they both perturb and gladden our reading." — Erín Moure