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To the Barricades
Print Edition
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16.95 CDN

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16.95 US

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Tuesday December 11, 2012 in Books

To the Barricades

By Stephen Collis

In To the Barricades we move back and forth between historical and contemporary scenes of revolt, from nineteenth-century Parisian street barricades to twenty-first-century occupations and street marches, shifting along the active seam between poetry and revolution. At once elegy (poems dedicated “to” past revolutionary figures and scenes) and a call for renewed struggle in the here and now, this collection of “social lyrics” and serial explosions seeks to drive apathy from the field and to recover forgotten “radical ideas” amidst our current “amnesiac condition.” Avant-garde technique is donated to lyric ends (the expression of social affects), as Arthur Rimbaud presides and the commune is reconvened in Vancouver’s streets.

To the Barricades continues Collis’s “life” poem, “The Barricades Project,” which also includes Anarchive (2005) and The Commons (2008). Both the anti-archive of the revolutionary record and the dream of a once and future “commons” upon which all can equally dwell continue to shape these poems where words are hurried bricks thrown up as “barricades” in language.

“Dear effects of / tireless treason / the social only / shuffles if you / move your feet / we’ve learned this / in a place invaders / called Vancouver / even if we are only / a few and even if / it rains on the day / of the demo”

ISBN 13: 9780889227477 | ISBN 10: 889227470
5 W x 8.5 H inches | 160 pages
16.95 CAN / 16.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE000000
Paperback Edition


“Barricades are a type of resistance and, depending on who’s throwing them up, an act of creativity as well as control. Collis uses brush-by, glint, examination-in-perspective, and roundabout reconnaissance to measure our times … Unafraid of the truth and unafraid to opine on the effect of truth, Collis has emerged as one of Canada’s finest writers. Like climate change and tar sands, like the decimation of honey bees with Neonicotinoid, like the essence of Edward Snowden’s revelations, we ignore Collis’s words at our own peril.” ARC Poetry

“What is not a chronicle of scuffling feet over rebellious streets, what is not a meditation on spontaneous committee work, not a study of occupying civic spaces, not an expression of cascading revolutionary moments, what is the ‘not’ of all that, but that is still forged from all that? It is precisely this swirling charybdis of emotive power that To the Barricades ventures to traverse, harnessing the potential of collective transformation. Continuously in danger of being recouped and serialized by topic and theme, genre, and discourse, in the crosshairs of being literaturized, Collis keeps the forms of social address fluid, stealthy, street-smart, and on the run. Like Neruda’s Canto General, To the Barricades succeeds in marshalling forth ‘cities of words’ as yet un-citied. These lines are graffitiable.” – Rodrigo Toscano

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).

[Once in Blockadia cover]
Once in Blockadia

Stephen Collis

The Commons, Second Edition cover
The Commons

Stephen Collis

To the Barricades cover
To the Barricades

Stephen Collis

Dispatches from the Occupation
Dispatches from the Occupation

Stephen Collis

On the Material

Stephen Collis

Phyllis Webb and the Common Good

Stephen Collis

Copyright Talonbooks 1963-2018



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