Synopses & Reviews
Poetry. Winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. "TOM THOMSON IN PURGATORY falls gracefully into the American tradition of the extended persona poem...Troy Jollimore knows how to trot forth a character as distinct as one who might be encountered in sharply rendered fiction...Of course, we know and delight in the knowledge that Tom Thomson is a verbal phantom, the result of the poet's word-spinning, but at the same time we lean forward to believe in him--our hero for the moment, a man of the hour...Reading this book, you are bound to take both Tom Thomson and his creator to your heart and to savor the miscellany of other poems that make up this superb collection"--Billy Collins.
[A] series of exquisite sonnets . . . accounts for the second half of the book. Tom Thomson in Purgatory, Jollimore's first book, was selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to win the 2005 Robert E. Lee & Ruth I. Wilson Poetry Book Award, and it won the National Book Critics Circle Award last month. In this reviewer's opinion, it deserves every prize available. Aaron Belz, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (April 1, 2007)
In the onslaught of new poetry books, Troy Jollimore's debut "Tom Thomson in Purgatory" is muscling to the forefront. . . . there's a freshness to it and a sort of lighthearted earnestness that bodes well for this poet and his growing cadre of readers.
Sheila Farr, Seattle Times (March 16, 2007)
Poetry, it seems, is often either funny or good -- but very infrequently is it both, as is in Tom Thomson in Purgatory. Borrowing Berryman's linguistic inversions, and Whitman's mossy particulars, Jollimore injects a much needed jolt of helium into contemporary poetry . . . it's refreshing to see a poet prove you can write mysteriously and coherently at the same time, all while maintaining the belay rope of tradition. . . . go out and find this book and take it home, and you will find, pressed beneath its pages, a new and exciting voice in American poetry, emerging from the purgatory so many poets know, but this one never deserved: obscurity.
John Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review (March 25, 2007)
Jollimore came out of nowhere to win this year's National Book Critics Circle poetry award for his first book. Would it be clichéd to say that here is an utterly fresh, original voice? Not in his case . . .
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (April 15, 2007)
Reading this book, you are bound to take both Tom Thomson and his creator to your heart and to savor the miscellany of other poems that make up this superb collection.
Billy Collins (author of Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems)
The Tom Thomson sonnets, in particular, are sad and wise and explosively funny in all possible combinations . . . Dont take this book anywhere laughing out loud would be indecorous.
James Richardson (author of Interglacial: New & Selected Poems & Aphorisms)
About the Author
Troy Jollimore is a native of Nova Scotia. He studied philosophy at Princeton University and currently teaches at California State University, Chico. His first book of poetry, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, was chosen by Billy Collins for the MARGIE/Intuit House Poetry Series, and won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award.