Email: info@talonbooks.com
Telephone: 604 444-4889
Outside Vancouver: 1 888 445-4176
Fax: 604 444-4119



Click here to join our monthly Talonbooks newsletter!
Posted: Tuesday March 23, 2010
Jeff Derksen

Jeff Derksen is a founding member of Vancouver’s writer-run centre, the Kootenay School of Writing, and worked as an editor of Writing magazine. His work has been anthologized in East of Main and Verse: Postmodern Poetry and Language Writing. As an editor, Derksen also organized “Disgust and Overdetermination: a poetics issue,” for Open Letter and “Poetry and the Long Neoliberal Moment” for West Coast Line. Derksen’s poetry and critical writing on art, urbanism and text have been published in Europe and North America. Formerly a research fellow at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the City University of New York, he currently works in the English Department at Simon Fraser University. He collaborates on visual art and research projects (focusing on urban issues) with the research collective Urban Subjects. Derksen’s Down Time won the 1991 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award at the BC Book Prizes. A selection from Dwell — “Host Nation, Host Society”—was nominated for inclusion in The Gertrude Stein Anthology of Innovative North American Poetry: 1993.

LATEST Jeff Derksen NEWS

August 2017 : Talon poets in Contemporary Verse 2: Convergence

April 2017 : Save the date! Our Spring 2017 Poetry Launch is on April 27 in Vancouver

November 2015 : Scree is launched! Watch the video, see the photos

November 2014 : Launched! Our Fall 2014 “Septuplets”

December 2013 : New Arrivals! And Slowly Beauty (Drama) & The Vestiges (Poetry)


Down Time

Winner of the 1991 BC Book Prize: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize



Alberta Writer’s Guild Award Nominee, 1994



One of the best 75 books of 2015 (CBC Books)


The Vestiges

“a masterful collection of long research poems, two of which have wildly incongruent commitments to having a knowable speaker … In the end, Derksen puts the reader in the vestiges of hope.”
Canadian Literature

“Today the world exploded. Drones fell from the sky onto random targets, news stations went black, pepper spray burned our eyes. Who’s up for documenting the new rubble? For those of us hunkered down in the poetry corner of the universe, Jeff Derksen has been our man. He sits behind a common desk of particulars as an architect of data: distilling facts, designing hard poems that trace our desperate history of greed. These are The Vestiges and, indeed, ‘the idea of the north just shifted north.’”
– Robert Fitterman

“As all that is solid melts into liquidity, Jeff Derksen’s poetry provides footholds of humor, criticism, stealth analysis, and wild observation to address neoliberalism’s violent wake. With ‘expansive authority’ he reveals Marx as teacher, as worker, as conversationalist, and exposes what’s silhouetted in the glare of vagabond capitalism. The Vestiges is a beautiful, compelling, and even dangerous book.”
– Cindi Katz


Annihilated Time

“In Annihilated Time, Jeff Derksen offers a clear point of view from which to critique and unsettle contemporary neoliberalism and its slippery redeployments of democratic ­vocabularies for undemocratic ends. By recognizing the range of scales—local, national, and global—through which ­neoliberalism operates, and the contradictory interactions of the same or related gestures depending on the scale at which one reads, Derksen suggests that it is through a ­multivalenced poetics of space, movement, and reflexivity that readers and ­writers resist and thrive. These are smart, thoughtful essays that offer a wide range of ­opportunities to help the justice-minded to productively refuse or rearticulate rapidly ­shifting forms of power for more open and liberatory movements.”

— Larissa Lai, author of Saltfish Girl

“In this long-awaited collection of essays, Jeff Derksen explores the new pressures placed on poetry, art, and theory by the intensified intimacy between culture and economics in the ‘long neoliberal moment,’ with great intelligence and ironic humour. Drawing on live debates and controversies—as opposed to isolated theories or static models—in ­disciplines ranging from Marxist geography to postmodern architecture, Derksen raises the question of what it means to make art in the present moment in a new and exciting way.”

— Sianne Ngai, author of Ugly Feelings

“Just as Charles Olson turned to geographer Carl Sauer to pry open the field of ­contemporary poetry and poetics in the previous century, Jeff Derksen here brilliantly ­relates poetry (‘that underachieving commodity’) to ­architecture, and explores the ­uneven development of contested urban territories in the work of Marxist geographers. Derksen’s incisive critiques of the lengthy spectre of neoliberalism that is haunting our globe seek to create not only new readers of poetry but new forms of and spaces for a re-scaled, re-envisioned, and re-invigorated cultural citizenship. ­_Annihilated Time_ ­deserves to be read as it was written: boldly and widely.”

— Mark Nowak, editor of XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, author of Coal Mountain Elementary



"[A] canny text, astute and sharp. This a brilliant mind at work, dwelling in, dwelling on."
Books in Canada

“As Jeff Derksen approaches family and personal life, at home and abroad, his work comes down to earth, becomes more serious, more analytical, optimistic, precise, and fragile. The word tour economic; a life’s work, critique, focus, attending to, listening a living, an expression of insolitude among domestic monuments and affairs of state.” – Melanie Neilson

"Dwell provides just the right kind of fin de siècle topo map required to reconnoiter our present bearings. Derksen’s accurate delineation of narrative edge coloured by layers of diction’s own superfluousness is a rare and honest measure of a world that’s signed out. In language that’s resolute in its probe for meaningful coordinates, these poems ‘fulfill’ their own codes, absorb ‘all (our) private space.’ We’ll never get home without them.” – Fred Wah

Dwell is a compassionate and humane book, the product (nice package) of a personality engaged in analysis of meaning-making. And I feel I’ve been reading the presence of a life in its pages … a breathing friction. It’s like listening to music in its privileging of experience over knowledge.” – Prairie Fire

“Dwell … offer[s] an unsimplified and penetrating look at our time and place, where meaning and significance alter and blend. Derksen invites his readers to take part in this process.” – Vox



Scree, a handsome and expansive collection containing almost thirty years of Wah’s poetry, is both an introduction to and overview of the writer’s powerful but understated literary oeuvre. … As his body of work expands over time, so does its breadth and insight, even as the author breaks, disrupts and refines poetic form. Like the mountain that is a recurring image throughout Wah’s work, the vistas of Scree are both subtle and breathtaking…”
Malahat Review

“This is surely the best poetry book of the year! Such care and thoroughness have been taken here to let each important early publication keep its style and colour and format. This is a heavy book full of some of the lightest, halest experimental poetry in Canada. It is so important that this work is being done, both the writing and the editing.”
—Phil Hall, BookThug

“The book is gorgeous, … attempting to keep as close as possible the integrity of the original publications into a single volume. The resulting volume – shift of image, colour and font – is a breathtaking accomplishment that does far more than simply replicate a selection of thirty years of writing and publishing, but work[s] to present some sense of what those early publications might have felt like in their original forms…”
—rob mclennan’s blog

Copyright Talonbooks 1963-2018



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.

If you have any questions or comments about this website, contact the webmaster.