"Lane is a poet more of the individual, hard-hitting poem; like physical blows, he wields his pieces like small threats of intense beauty."
--Globe and Mail
Following the success of his award-winning memoir There is a Season (2004) and his bestselling novel Red Dog, Red Dog (2008), Patrick Lane felt his celebrated poetry career might be at an end and published his Collected Poems in 2011. But the process of revisiting his collected poetic works rekindled his first love and launched him on a new phase of poetry composition that resulted in this impressive and distinctive new book.
Honest and self-aware, Washita evokes some of the most inexpressible experiences a human being can undergo: the loss of a parent, the breakdown of a body, the perversion of nature, the acquiring of wisdom. In "Hard-Rock," a boy begins to understand that his father will die: "His lungs created elaborate cathedrals from quartz dust, / a crystal symphony playing Mahler under water." In "Submission," a speaker struggles with losing his sight, capable only of expressing himself through metaphor. But amid this darkness sparks an awareness of the artistry of the world: "Vete a la mierda, hijo de puta! / Hate is beautiful in Spanish."
As might be expected from a seventy-five-year-old poet, Washita is reflective in tone, exploring all facets of the poet's own life as well as those others his has touched. Introducing a new style employing medium-length, end-stopped lines, terse diction and concrete imagery, Washita has a solidity and mastery that marks it as a new highlight in Lane's distinguished career.
About the author
Patrick Lane, considered by most writers and critics to be one of Canada's finest poets, was born in 1939 in Nelson, BC. He grew up in the in the Kootenay and Okanagan regions of the BC Interior, primarily in Vernon. He came to Vancouver and co-founded a small press, Very Stone House with bill bissett and Seymour Mayne. He then drifted extensively throughout North and South America. He has worked at a variety of jobs from labourer to industrial accountant, but much of his life has been spent as a poet, having produced twenty-four books of poetry to date. He is also the father of five children and grandfather of nine. He has won nearly every literary prize in Canada, from the Governor General's Award to the Canadian Authors Association Award to the Dorothy Livesay Prize. In 2014, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada, an honour that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree. His poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and have been translated into many languages. Lane now makes his home in Victoria, BC, with his companion, the poet Lorna Crozier.
- Winner, Raymond Souster Award
- Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award
- Short-listed, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Other titles by Patrick Lane
Deep River Night
The Heart Is Improvisational
An Anthology in Poetic Form
The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane
Selected Poems 1962-2010
Over Prairie Trails
Red Dog, Red Dog
Last Water Song
Notes from the Belly of the Beast
There Is A Season
Breathing Fire 2
Canada's New Poets