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Saturday March 27, 2010 in Books
If, as Robert Creeley said, “form is never more than an extension of content,” what happens when we lose form? Does content retreat into its ruins, its absences? Can we never go home because it retreats from us as relentlessly and unfathomably as our future? Is the imagination of “our” future as illusory and unreliable as the memory of “our” past? If, for the young man, “going home is the first defeat,” the first violation of a burgeoning autonomy, is the very imagination of “home” an abrogation, a transgression? These are the questions that the deceptively simple lyrics of this book ask, that we encounter as we navigate our way, “room to room” through their stanzas—from the poet’s New York childhood, his Montreal mentorship with Louis Dudek, to his volitionary adoptive “home” of Asia. The world changes in Going Home —9/11 happens. In that singular, extended historic moment all of our working models of representation on our North American Island turn to paper and dust, and now we know history always had other plans for us. The whole manufactured unreality of our world falls away in these poems, leads us both toward and away from being “at home” in the moment. “We’re all here and not here,” the poet reminds us: an index of time and the true nature of existence—a present impermanence.
ISBN 13: 9780889225732 | ISBN 10: 889225737
6 W x 9 H inches | 192 pages
$18.95 CAN / $18.95 US
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000
QUOTES OF NOTE
[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
About the ContributorsKen Norris
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.
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.
Norris teaches Canadian literature and creative writing at the University of Maine. He divides his time between Canada, the United States and Asia.
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.