Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry Canadian

Where We Live

by (author) John Reibetanz

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2016
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


shell in the night sky / and whose anti-clockwise spiral / repeats the Milky Way’s unwinding / informed not with the lore of clocks or teachers / but of gods and children Where We Live explores how specific places and their features (street scenes, classrooms, furniture, creatures both real and mythical) become part of our identities, and illustrates how we carry them around and how we are shaped by their outlines even as we, in turn, transform them. This reciprocity extends to the adoption of other voices in the translated poems that are a vital part of each section, and to the active participation of the reader invited by the collection’s flexible use of poetic form. John Reibetanz’s approach comes from a conviction that the most compelling and significant features of human identity are not primarily found in solitude but rather evolve through our conversations with otherness. This collection works as a kind of long poem, its three parts interconnected, each presenting a particular interpretation of the process of possession, loss, and recovery. “Thresholds” deals with encounters between the self and the other – childhood experiences, family, familiar places – and seeks ways of transcending the disappointment within such sources. “Roommates” explores both the uniqueness and the reciprocity in human relationships with the natural world, and “Flyways” posits that there is no separation between the human/natural and the imaginative: however far-flung, they all interweave and constitute the territory where we live.

About the author

John Reibetanz was born in New York City, and grew up in the eastern United States and Canada. He put himself through university by working at numerous non-poetic jobs, and is probably the only member of the League of Canadian Poets to have belonged to the Amalgamated Meatcutters Union. A finalist for both the National Magazine Awards (Canada) and the National Poetry Competition (United States), he has given readings of his poetry in most major cities in North America. His poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry (Chicago), The Paris Review, Canadian Literature, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, The Southern Review, and Quarry. His fifth collection, Mining For Sun (Brick Books, 2000), was shortlisted for the ReLit Poetry Award; his sixth, Near Relations, was published by McClelland and Stewart in 2005. In 2003 he was awarded First Prize in the international Petra Kenney Poetry Competition. John Reibetanz lives in Toronto with his wife and three children, and he teaches at Victoria College, University of Toronto, where he received the first Victoria University Teaching Award. In addition to poetry, he has written essays on Elizabethan drama and on modern and contemporary poetry, as well as a book on King Lear and a book of translations of modern German poetry. When he is not writing or teaching, he bicycles, kayaks, reads local history, and listens passionately to 1930s jazz.

John Reibetanz's profile page

Other titles by John Reibetanz