With English Subtitles is Carmine Starnino at his most inventive. The poems in this collection are exceptionally focused, musical and inviting. Household objects, Italian relatives, Yukon landscapes, worst-case scenarios and relationships are pushed onto the page with new-found urgency and delight. Here for the first time, Starnino has set aside the restraint of his earlier work in favour of a bold swagger and forthright musicality.
Starnino’s fascination with old objects is translated into poems that combine history and close scrutiny with lively personification and corresponding sound. These poems capture the true energy and anima of supposedly inanimate items. The aged suitcase exudes an air of hurry and persistence, “still champing to be off.” The iron gives a “suspirating hush as it catches its breath.” For each of these items, Starnino locates a pulse and charts the specifics of its breathing. Coupled with this energy is a focus on the process of decay and the beauty contained therein. Junkyard, charity auction, failed relationship and autumn all center on the varied and tenuous aesthetic of rust.
The poems in this collection are sensual, abundant and rushing. Starnino builds towers of sound and rhythm, introducing all the whim and decadence of bygone days to modern pragmatics and speech. His inventive use of language and personable interruptions draw readers inside an understanding of the world that is both grounded and imaginative. The result is a watertight and satisfying collection: poetry that proves resoundingly that art and life depend on one another for inspiration.
This book is a Smyth-sewn paperback with cover flaps. The text was typeset by Andrew Steeves in Octavian and printed on Rolland Zephyr Laid paper. The cover is hand-printed letterpress.
Winner of the 2004 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and winner of the 2006 F.G. Bressani Literary Prize.
About the author
Carmine Starnino is the author of three collections of poems: The New World (which was nominated for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award), Credo (winner of the C A A Jack Chalmers Poetry Award), and With English Subtitles. His reviews and essays have appeared in a wide range of newspapers, magazines and literary journals, including the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, Matrix, Arc and The Montreal Review of Books. Starnino is the editor of Vehicule Press` Signal imprint, poetry editor at Canadian Notes and Queries, and editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve. Starnino lives in Montreal.
“This stunning work reclaims the style of A.M. Klein’s Joycean poetry, gnashing on juicy verbs, relishing puns, souping-up great stews of lingo, and salting, peppering, sugaring English by laying bare its Italian and Latin roots. . . With English Subtitles is beautifully subversive.” George Elliott Clark, Halifax Chronicle Herald
“The poems in Carmine Starnino’s third collection are bold and original, breathing fresh perspective into familiar subjects. Starnino crafts poems hat not only push the form’s envelope but stuffs that envelope with imaginative ideas.” David Silverberg, Quill & Quire
Other titles by Carmine Starnino
The Book of Malcolm
My Son's Life with Schizophrenia
The Essential John Glassco
Selected Poems 1997-2016
The Essential Charles Bruce
The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012
Essays & Reviews on Contemporary Poetry
This Way Out
New Canon, The
An Anthology of Canadian Poetry