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Colin Browne is the author of Abraham (Brick Books, 1987); the critically acclaimed collection of poetry Ground Water (Talonbooks, 2002), which was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award and a Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize; and The Shovel (Talonbooks, 2007), shortlisted for the 2008 ReLit Award. He was an editor of Writing magazine and co-founder of the Kootenay School of Writing, the Praxis
Centre for Screenwriters and the Art of Documentary workshops.
Browne’s films include Linton Garner: I Never Said Goodbye (2003), Father and Son (1992) and White Lake (1989), which was nominated for a Genie for Best Feature Length Documentary. He is currently working on texts for new operas. His recent work explores the history and legacy of the Surrealist fascination with the art of the Northwest Coast and Alaska, and includes the essay “Scavengers of Paradise.” Browne teaches at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.
BOOK AWARDSThe Shovel
Finalist for the 2008 ReLit Award for Poetry
BOOK AWARDSGround Water
Finalist for the 2002 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry
Finalist for the 2003 BC Book Prize: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Properties
"Colin Browne’s books can delight you in all ways. He is erudite and he is a slangster. Again in this big new volume we happily find an alarming cohabitation of learnedness and tomfoolery. He will quote from Plato and Frank Loesser on the same page. And there is so much there … Reading silently anywhere in the book, you can feel the words on your lips, he is so attentive to them. And once you sink into reading you know that you could be here forevermore."
"From rhythm sticks of phrases and words, cross-cultural as well as deeply familial, Colin Browne musics together a powerful series of poems, a mnemonic for ‘lighting up the routes between worlds.’ Recurrent war thrums in the ‘lyre’ strings of the local, even in the cables of Vancouver’s soaring bridge. These poems light up like accurate stars the “dark bight” we constantly ‘skiff’ across. The Properties is a major work from a poet writing at the peak of both outrage and love."
"In their wide-ranging, restless yet nevertheless focused reach, Colin Browne’s poems are packed with the unexpected detail only an alert mind can record, and in their refusal to explain themselves exhilarate the reader to connect, in his or her own surprised wonder, the seen with the unseen, the familiar with the strange; generating that invisible world always behind and in words. ‘Here there’s only now,’ says one poem, ‘beyond knowing.’ There’s a pedagogy here, and celebration—love, delight and thought their properties."
"An environment of modulations, of feelings that don’t reveal themselves as nameable, sellable. Not aesthetic properties. Nothing redeeming in the destruction of cities. Not more musical to bomb an opera house than to bomb a factory. Hence: Stravinsky, Igor. Each tonal anchor only a pretext to swim into another key. Hence: Strauss, Richard. Such terrible accidents. Intersections not revelations. So much out, everything in. Crossings not consummations. What music exactly envies. Erudition
without knowingness, quality of always. Always of something discovered not told."
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Shovel
“The skill and intense ardor of the mind at work … is delightful.”
“The epic sweep of pieces is impressive, at times rapturous. They are worth digging for.”
—Quill & Quire
"The Shovel is a major work, confirmation of Colin Browne’s exacting artistry, his ability to bring such a wide range of materials into a single, epic (in the sense that Pound gave to that term), and devastatingly concentrated unity of purpose. One of those necessary books, it earns and deserves our closest attention.”
QUOTES OF NOTEGround Water
"Browne fosters in Ground Water not only polyvocality but a ranging polyformality of spacious collage, tight lists, knotted rambunctious densities of word and sentence, sonic wordplay, narrative and lyric." — Publishers Weekly
"You are different after you have read this book." — The Georgia Straight
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.