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Remembering Patrick Lane
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Remembering Patrick Lane

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Remembering Patrick Lane, who passed away earlier this month, and his remarkable contributions—in a range of forms and genres—to Canadian literature.
Deep River Night

Deep River Night

A Novel
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback

In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Russell Banks, and Annie Proulx, the much-anticipated new novel by the bestselling author of Red Dog, Red Dog is set over the course of 48 hours in a remote sawmill community where violence, complicity, and inaction run deep.

World War Two vet Art Kenning is the alcoholic first-aid man in an isolated sawmill village in the interior of B.C., where he dreads the sound of the five whistles that summon him to the mill floor whenever a worker is hurt. Traumatized …

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Go Leaving Strange

Go Leaving Strange

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian

Go Leaving Strange - the latest collection from award-winning poet Patrick Lane - is filled with poems that explore the darker side of human consciousness and desire. A man kills his own six-year-old child in "Weeds." An addict strives to keep ahead of death in "Smack." But amid this bleak landscape of pity and regret, there is also redemption and hope, life and beauty - in the wisteria seed that "shines between the folded legs of the pod, demure, waiting for spring . . . ," in the polished silv …

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Last Water Song

Last Water Song

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian

Shortlisted for the 2008 Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry
Longlisted for the 2007 Victoria Butler Book Prize

Last Water Song, the first collection of new poetry from award-winning poet Patrick Lane since Go Leaving Strange (Harbour, 2004), is divided into two parts. The first part is a series of 16 long elegies on writer acquaintances who have died, including Adele Wiseman, Al Purdy, Earle Birney and Irving Layton. Prosey, relaxed and personal, these are some of the most moving poems Lane …

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No Longer Two People

No Longer Two People

edition:Paperback
tagged :

The poems in No Longer Two People are a conversation between poets, exploring connections and the "vibration of life."

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Patrick Lane in Cab 43

Patrick Lane in Cab 43

tagged : canadian

Patrick Lane in Cab 43 features poems written and performed by Patrick Lane, recorded in a taxi cab, a downtown park, and in the poet’s back yard.

This is Lane as he was meant to be heard, a poet of the real world, a witness and chronicler of that which is most brutal and most beautiful in human experience. He looks into the darkest corners of life and presents his findings with a fierce honesty, in a voice that combines the music of speech with the unerring rhythm of the human heart.

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Red Dog, Red Dog

Red Dog, Red Dog

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : literary

A National Bestseller and a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
One of the most powerful, gripping works of fiction to come out of Canada, Red Dog, Red Dog is Patrick Lane’s virtuoso debut novel.

An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives, Red Dog, Red Dog is set in the mid-1950s, in a small town in the interior of B.C. in the unnamed Okanagan Valley. The novel focuses on the Stark family, centring on brothers Eddy and Tom, who are bound together by family loyalty and inarticulat …

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Excerpt

It was stone country where a bone cage could last a thousand years under the moon, its ribs a perch for Vesper sparrows, its skull a home for Harvest mice. The hills rose parched from the still lakes, the mountains beyond them faded to a mauve so pale they seemed stones under ice. Sage brush and bitterroot weathered the September night. In the desiccated grass of a vacant lot, a rattle snake followed in the tracks of a Kangaroo mouse, a Fiery Searcher beetle clambered over the dried body of a dead Wood rat in the dust, and a magpie slept inside its wings on a branch of dying chokecherry, the berries hard as dog knots. Stars shone like sparks thrown from shattered quartz, Orion reeling in the southern sky and Mars sullen and red in the west.

In the heart of it was a valley leading nowhere out but north or south. North was going toward narrower cuts of rock, deeper winters, darker forests, and even more desolate towns that turned into villages, villages into clusters of trailers and isolated shacks in the trees, nothing beyond but bush that ran clear to the tundra. South was going toward the desert states where there was no place a man could get work unless he was Indian or wetback, someone willing to take cash wages half what anyone else might ask. The only way you could stay alive down in Washington or Idaho was to break your back in the onion fields and orchards, set chokers on a gypo logging show, or steal. East were mountains piled upon mountains, the Monashee giving over to the Selkirks and Purcells, and finally the Rockies and the Great Plains. To the west was a rolling plateau where nothing lived but moose, bear, and screaming, black- headed jays. At the edge of the plateau, the rolling forest rose up the Coast Range until it dwindled against the scree, and on the other side of the peaks and glaciers was the sea, something most people in the valley had only heard of, never seen, the Pacific with its waves rolling over the dead bodies of seals and salmon, eagles and gulls shrieking.

The town squatted in a bowl beneath desert hills, its scattered lights odd fires stared at from up on the Commonage where a rattlesnake could be seen lifting its wedge head from the heat- trail of a white- footed mouse and staring down at the three lakes, Swan in the north, Kalamalka to the south, and Okanagan in the west, the Bluebush hills and mountains hanging above them in a pall. Against the sky were rocky outcrops with their swales of rotted snow where nothing grew but lichens, pale explosions that held fast to the rough knuckles of granite as the long winds came steady out of the north. In the valley confluence where the lakes met were the dusty streets and avenues of the town shrouded by tired elms and maples. What the snake saw only it could know.

It was the hour after moonset, dawn close by. The darkness held hard on the Monashee Mountains. Eddy walked thin down a back alley halfway up the east hillside, his eyes blinkered, their blue faded to a mottled white, the colour of the junk in his veins. Ankle- deep yellow clay lifted and swam around his boots. Silica whirlwinds, they shivered behind his heels as they settled back into soft pools. He moved slowly between broken fences and sagging, fretful sheds. The open windows of houses gazed blind into backyards, sleepers heavy in narrow beds, sheets damp and crumpled at their feet. In the alley, wheat grass and cheat grass draped their seed heads over the shallow ruts. A single stem of spear grass brushed against Eddy’s pant leg and left two seeds caught in the wisps of cotton on his worn cuff. He waded on through dust, the seeds waiting for their moment to fall in what might be some giving dirt, some spot where life might find a place to hide in winter. The alley held the illusion of water, thin waves of powdered clay shot through with the dead leaves of grass and chicory.

A slender ghost, lean as a willow wand, Eddy flowed in the languid glow of the heroin he’d shot up a half-hour before. Sergeant Stanley’s German shepherd slept uneasy on its paws in the run next to the ashes of a burned- out shed. Eddy had set the shed on fire the week before. He’d watched the flames from his car on the hill above and imagined Stanley in the dark staring at the wild fire, raging.

Sergeant Stanley was nowhere around. Eddy knew he was likely taking his usual time with some frightened girl he’d picked up and squired out to the west side of the lake on some false, misleading threat or charge. Eddy had seen Stanley’s women. The cop took his due with all of them, each one owing him her body in unfair exchange for the cell she didn’t want to see, the father, friend, or husband she’d never tell. When he was a boy, he’d crouched behind a chokecherry bush up on the Commonage and seen Stanley with his pants open, a scared girl on her knees beside the police car, working for her life as she bruised her knees on rock shards in the clay.

The shed had been the first thing.

The dog would be the second.

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Selected Poems: 1977-1997

Selected Poems: 1977-1997

edition:Paperback

Patrick Lane, one of Canada's most distinguished and acclaimed poets, has published over twenty books of poetry in his long career. This collection, the only comprehensive book of his poetry since 1988, gathers together the work of two decades, presenting his best work as a mature poet.

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Excerpt

WINTER 31
What the child finds in snow is what a ship finds
in the sea, a wake left behind, a froth
that sinks back into itself everyone else
waiting for the return, the full hold,
the grain come again, the hosannas
which are prayers to plenty. The child knows
nothing of this. He has been sent out to play
and has discovered misery.
He is learning that the footsteps he finds in snow
are his and his alone. How sweet his lament,
this silence in the negative world of cold.
It is a kind of perfect mutiny, everyone waiting
and him knowing there will be no return.
If he were a priest he would say:
This is the end of the first lesson.
THE FIRST TIME
The first time
I saw a chicken
run headless
across the yard
I wanted
to do it too
I wanted
to kill something
so perfectly
it would live
DINNER
I would like to have dinner with the man
who didn't follow Christ, the one who,
when Jesus said Follow me and I
will make you fishers of men, decided
to go fishing instead, getting in his boat,
pushing out from shore, his nets clean
and repaired, thinking I will have to work
even harder now in order to feed
everyone left behind. I would like
to sit on the beach with him
in front of a careful fire,
his wife and children asleep,
sharing a glass of wine, both of us
telling stories about what we've done
with our lives, the ones we caught,
the ones that got away.

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The Bare Plum of Winter Rain

The Bare Plum of Winter Rain

edition:Paperback

The Bare Plum of Winter Rain is the latest collection of poetry by award-winning poet Patrick Lane, author of more than 20 published books of poetry. An icon in the Canadian literary scene, Lane has won nearly every literary prize in Canada, including the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1979 for Poems, New and Selected, the Canadian Authors' Association Award for Poetry in 1988 for Selected Poems and the Dorothy Livesay Prize for poetry in 1996 for Too Spare, Too Fierce.

Gathering together …

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Excerpt

The instrument of your poverty
is an infinite departure, the hawk unseen
until you see him without prey
in the bare plum of winter rain.
He rests inside hunger
and he does not sing today.
How rare the gesture we make
with nothing. It is of the spirit and without
value. The bare plum, the winter rain
and the hawk seeing what you cannot say.
These steady accretions, yet allowing them
to stay as you stay with music after music
plays, and of course there is always,
always hunger, and, of course, poverty,
and the bare plum, empty, and the rain.

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