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Methodist Hatchetby Ken Babstock
"Methodist Hatchet, Ken Babstock's fourth book of poetry, is extraordinary. Babstock is one of Canada's premier poets, and, if you've never read him before (as I hadn't), this new collection of poems will astonish, challenge, and rattle you. His language is dense, knotted, intense; his lines are breathtakingly impressive soundscapes. In subject and image, his poems are an uncanny blend of the timeless and antiquated with the hyper-contemporary (references to the latter include Hoarders, "Cincinnati divorcees spilling/ out of leopard print," the Tasty Chicken House, and This American Life). Babstock is a gorgeous, disturbing, funny, bleak poet, and I hope this book introduces him to a much larger audience in America." Jill Owens, Powells.com (Read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Here is the exhilarating new collection from one of our most important and talented poets, a finalist for the 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2006 Governor General's Literary Award and winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry.
Marooned in the shiftless, unnamed space between a map of the world and a world of false maps, these poems cling to what's necessary from each, while attempting to sing their own bewilderment. The resultant chords of resignation, exhaltation, and despair are bracing. Carolinian forest echoes back as construction cranes in an urban skyline. Second Life returns as wildlife, as childhood. Even the poem itself — the idea of a poem — as a unit of understanding is shadowed by a great unknowing. Fearless in its language, its trajectories and frames of reference, Methodist Hatchet gazes upon the objects of its attention until they rattle and exude their auras of strangeness. It is this strangeness, this mysterious stillness, that is the big heart of Ken Babstock's playful, fierce, intelligent book.
"With his new book, it's time to forgo the qualifiers and just call [Ken Babstock] what he is: the best Canadian poet of his generation." Walrus Magazine
"[A]ffecting and deft...[a] lasting contribution to Canadian poetry." Quill and Quire
"Methodist Hatchet will be a bellwether for contemporary Canadian poetry...[Ken Babstock's poems] invite us to listen more closely, to bring the discernment of reading poems into our habits of reading the world." Rover Arts
"Methodist Hatchet is as precise as it is expansive, as complex as it is companionable...[Ken] Babstock is one of the most exciting lyric poets writing today." Globe and Mail
"[A] dazzling display by a talented writer." Toronto Star
The eagerly anticipated fourth collection from one of Canada's finest poets, acclaimed by Time magazine as "one of the best things to happen to poetry in Canada."
Marooned in the shiftless, unnamed space between a map of the world and a world of false maps, Ken Babstocks poems cling to whats necessary from each, while attempting to sing their own bewilderment. Methodist Hatchet sets the currencies of living, thinking, and writing on a level plain. The symbolic currencies of natural and engineered worlds — the monetary, cultural, intellectual, and experiential — mimic, dog, and evade each other in a brilliant play of contingency and consequence. Even the poem itself — the idea of a poem — as a unit of understanding is shadowed by a great unknowing. Fearless in its language, its trajectories, and its frames of reference, Babstocks fourth collection gazes upon the objects of its attention until they rattle, and exude their auras of strangeness. It is this strangeness, this mysterious stillness, that is the heart of Babstocks playful, fierce, intelligent book. Methodist Hatchet is an exhilarating new work from one of our most celebrated poets.
About the Author
Ken Babstock is the author of three previous collections of poetry, including Airstream Land Yacht, which was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award, won the Trillium Book Award, and was a Globe and Mail Top 100 book. Ken Babstock lives in Toronto.
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