talonbooks.com
 

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

 

BY THIS AUTHOR 

Click here to join our monthly Talonbooks newsletter!
 
PURCHASE BOOKS HERE
Almost Islands
Print Edition
Canadian Customers

24.95 CDN


US & International Customers

24.95 US

Payments processed by PayPal


Monday May 7, 2018 in Books

Almost Islands
Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten

By Stephen Collis

_Almost Islands _ is a powerfully introspective memoir of the author’s friendship with legendary Canadian poet Phyllis Webb – now in her nineties and long enveloped in silence – and his regular trips to see her. It is an extended meditation on literary ambition and failure, poetry and politics, choice and chance, location, colonization, and climate change – the struggle that is writing, and the end of writing.

I go to see her because she is poetry’s old crone and I am seeking. I go to her – usually three, four times a year – because it is a small ministration I can perform for her, and for her poetry, as she slowly reaches into the finite – a long, slow embrace of nothing … If living is a process of learning how to die, then is writing a process of learning how to stop writing? I go in search of lost words, in search of the hoped-for defence against the loss of words, drawn to the shaping sounds of fate and mortality.

A meticulous collection of poetic, political, and philosophical digressions, Almost Islands weaves numerous themes together. At its crux lies a literary project: to build upon and extend Webb’s exposition of a “poetic” sense of the political, by proposing a political agent, the “Biotariat,” a government of Life, that is both human and more than human – arrived at after following as many pathways as possible through Webb’s own reading and thought. Ultimately, Almost Islands is a book obsessed with the problem of Webb’s not writing, and the implications of this for a writer like Collis who, in his own words, may be writing “too much” – as well as the wider social, political, and world-historical implications of withdrawal, self-silencing, and not-doing.

ISBN 13: 9781772012071 | ISBN 10:
8.5 W x 5.5 H inches | 208 pages
24.95 CAN / 24.95 US
Rights: World
Frontlist | Non-Fiction
Paperback Edition

About the Contributors

Stephen Collis

Stephen Collis is the author of five books of poetry, including the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize winning On the Material (Talonbooks, 2010) and three parts of the on-going “Barricades Project”: Anarchive (New Star, 2005), The Commons (Talonbooks, 2008, 2014), and To the Barricades (Talonbooks, 2013). An activist and social critic, his writing on the Occupy movement is collected in Dispatches from the Occupation (Talonbooks, 2012).


Almost Islands

Stephen Collis
Non-Fiction

[Once in Blockadia cover]
Once in Blockadia

Stephen Collis
Backlist

The Commons, Second Edition cover
The Commons

Stephen Collis
Poetry

To the Barricades cover
To the Barricades

Stephen Collis
Poetry

Dispatches from the Occupation
Dispatches from the Occupation

Stephen Collis
Non-Fiction

9780889226326sm
On the Material

Stephen Collis
Poetry

9780889225596sm
Phyllis Webb and the Common Good

Stephen Collis
Poetry


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.