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Friday January 5, 2018 in Books
In this companion to Governor General’s Award finalists Discovery Passages and Prairie Harbour, Garry Thomas Morse resumes his expansionist mapping of lyrical consciousness onto geographical concerns, acknowledging the unsettled edges of an imaginary territory. In Safety Sand, the reader is invited to step through a multilayered literary filter of uncanny allusions and cavalier translations to explore a nomadic Manitoba of the mind. Prairie surrealism is born!
In “Funereal Cocoons,” transformations of poems by Charles Baudelaire form a bridge between macabre visions of Paris during the 1850s and contemporary urban horrors that occur within the shadows of butterflies.
“Orphée through Glass” is a mystical triangulation involving Jack Spicer, Jean Cocteau, and Philip Glass, whose combined obsession with the Orpheus myth guides the reader through the arcane underworld of these poems. Explanatory notes are provided as imperfect mirrors of the poetic universe.
Rapid-fire poems in “Safe Spaces” are attentive to a structured musicality in our online interactions, tracing nano-aggressive threads of our language that cast judgment upon personal panopticons and fully realize Orwellian “hates” in wild emotional cycles that continually seek nourishment from repetitive media feeds. Trigger warnings not included.
“Ideas of North” extracts surrealist poems from the rocky landscape of the Boreal Shield, simultaneously re-enacting the mythic history of Flin Flon, Manitoba, and paying tribute to abstractionist Frank Stella and Canadian heldentenor Jon Vickers.
“Bones of the Last Bison,” the centrepiece of this collection, is an erasure exhibit that strips away the layers of Charles Mair’s celebrated poem “The Last Bison,” providing fractured commentary on Mair’s efforts to stir up hostility against Louis Riel and the provisional government in 1870, and also his early “environmentalist” work about the decline of the buffalo on the prairie, at once concealing and revealing what this has meant in practical and spiritual terms for Indigenous peoples.
ISBN 13: 9781772011982 | ISBN 10: 1772011983
6 W x 9.75 H inches | 160 pages
18.95 CAN / 18.95 US
Frontlist | Poetry
QUOTES OF NOTE
"Navigating the surreal prairies with a refined lyrical consciousness … Morse treads across Manitoba’s colonial legacies to its unsettled edges. In the process, the work challenges notions of where one finds sure footing atop this slippery, contemporary landscape in attempts to, as he puts it in "Toward an Epilogue," making the most of the muck and extract the "quintessence of everything"."
– Prairie Books NOW
About the ContributorsGarry Thomas Morse
Garry Thomas Morse’s poetry books include Transversals for Orpheus, Streams, After Jack, Discovery Passages (finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Prairie Harbour, and Safety Sand. Morse’s books of fiction include his collection Death in Vancouver, and the three books in The Chaos! Quincunx series, Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (2013 ReLit Award finalist), Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour (2014 ReLit Award finalist), and Minor Expectations, all published by Talonbooks.
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.