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Ken Norris was born in New York City in 1951. He emigrated to Canada in the early seventies, where he quickly became one of the infamous Vehicule Poets, essential in helping to develop and maintain a particular style of Anglo-poetry in Montreal.
One of Canada’s most prolific poets, Ken Norris has always given his readers subtly capricious and edgy poetry that reveals unanticipated possibilities and explores new horizons. He is the author of two dozen books and chapbooks of poetry, and is the editor of eight anthologies of poetry and poetics. His work has been widely anthologized in Canada and throughout the English-speaking world, as well as published in translation in France, Belgium, Israel and China. Quebec poet Pierre Des Ruisseaux has translated two of his books into French, La route des limbes (Limbo Road, Écrits des Forges) and Hotel Montréal (Éditions du Noroît).
Norris teaches Canadian literature and creative writing at the University of Maine. He divides his time between Canada, the United States and Asia.
QUOTES OF NOTEFloating Up to Zero
“And that’s what makes this collection a powerful celebration of something quite rare, a poet taking an honest measure of this world. In his hero among fellow exiles – Melville – Norris identifies "the greatness of failure, the magnificent greatness of overreaching." ”
QUOTES OF NOTEAsian Skies
“Norris’s Asian Skies does not offer a vision of this neo-romantic world—a world without commodification, capitalist exploitation—but he leads western readers to question our political and emotional relationship to the East. Most importantly the book encourages us to raise the possibility of re-imagining the West’s conception of the East, to undo the mythology, and challenge notions of difference on personal and collective levels.”
—The Bull Calf
“The poems in Asian Skies also offer themes that have appeared frequently in Asian cinema over the past few decades, namely the “anomie”, the universal loneliness, alienation and isolation we can experience as individuals due to the uncontrollable expanse of technological, economic and globalized entities, where the nightmare is merely our own embracing of such a spiritually hollow materialistic world.”
—Garry Thomas Morse
QUOTES OF NOTEGoing Home
[Norris] is profoundly original, open and vulnerable, with a unique personal note that speaks to the heart of the reader.
— Poetry Canada
It’s a whiteout of a poem, a way of showing lostness. Norris’ gift is his ability to show the lost self without entirely losing the speaker and the reader.
— Canadian Literature”
QUOTES OF NOTEDominican Moon
Ken Norris…has been hailed as Canada’s premier romantic poet.
— Toronto Star
One of the best poets of his generation.
QUOTES OF NOTEFifty
His, in short, a poet, and a good one.
— Hiram Poetry Review
QUOTES OF NOTEHotel Montreal
Unlock[s] a chrysalis of perplexity, awe, joy, and revelation…
— Montreal Review of Books
QUOTES OF NOTELimbo Road
I get a better sense, a tragic and painful sense of the age we are living in than I do from the daily and nightly broadcasts of world news…profoundly original, open and vulnerable…speaks to the heart of the reader.
— Louis Dudek, Poetry Canada
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.