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Killdeer

BookThug | Department of Critical Thought


WINNER OF THE 75th GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FOR POETRY

WINNER OF THE 25th TRILLIUM BOOK PRIZE

WINNER OF AN ALCUIN AWARD FOR DESIGN

SHORTLISTED FOR THE GRIFFIN POETRY PRIZE

These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes. These are essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue.

Hall is a surruralist (rural & surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to -- Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, among others. He writes of the embarrassing process of becoming a poet, and of his push-pull relationship with the whole concept of home. His notorious 2004 chapbook essay The Bad Sequence is also included here, for a wider readership, at last. It has been revised. (It's teeth have been sharpened.)

In this book, the line is the unit of composition; the reading is wide; the perspective personal: each take a give, and logic a drawback.

Language is not a smart-aleck; it's a sacred tinkerer.

Readers are invited to watch awe become a we.

In Fred Wah's phrase, what is offered here is "the music at the heart of thinking."

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A meditation on the poetic process that stimulates both the intellect and the imagination.

– Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star

Hall manages to rescue the lyrical essay from its recondite excesses and turn it into something that’s as adventurous as it is readable. Hall has called himself a “surruralist,” and this book charts his development as a writer, but it also demonstrates and furthers that development.

– Paul Vermeersh, The Globe and Mail.

Hall is aware that he’s aligned with an aesthetic of past decades that may not be fashionable, but he seems determined to keep its spirit alive by understanding what it tells us about our aesthetic today. To him I would give an award for unabashedly keeping an authentic Canadian poetic voice alive.

– The Montreal Gazette

I don’t know Hall’s work other than this book, which I glanced at and was immediately forced to sit down & read cover to cover. He gets my vote for Canadian book of 2012 and I was glad to see Killdeer receive Canada’s Governor General’s prize for poetry. It’s a wonderful read, even if Hall is a bit of a curmudgeon.

– Ron Silliman

...a wonderfully provocative experience...

– Jeff Weingarten via The Bullcalf Review

Killdeer is a testament to the creative life as an act of faith and transformation.

– The Griffin Prize Judges' Citation

...encompassing the best of what folk art is meant to be, self-taught and working-class, as [Hall] carves poems from a collage of phrases, lines and stanzas, while still managing to produce a highly-crafted 'high' art.

– Rob McLennan

These pieces are written with such honesty and empathy that it is impossible to read them and not tremble.

&ndash Stevie Howell via Arc

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Phil Hall’s first small book, Eighteen Poems, was published by Cyanamid, the Canadian mining company, in Mexico City, in 1973. Among his many titles are: Old Enemy Juice (1988), The Unsaid (1992), and Hearthedral – A Folk-Hermetic (1996). In the early 80s, Phil was a member of the Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union, & also a member of the Vancouver Men Against Rape Collective. He has taught writing at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College, and elsewhere. He has been poet-in-residence at Sage Hill Writing Experience (Sask.), The Pierre Berton House (Dawson City, Yukon), & elsewhere. In 2007, BookThug published Phil’s long poem, White Porcupine. Also in 2007, he and his wife, Ann, walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and lives near Perth, Ontario. Recent books include An Oak Hunch and The Little Seamstress. His most recent book is The Small Nouns Crying Faith (2013). The Governor General’s Award jury called Killdeer “a masterly modulation of the elegiac through poetic time.”

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Small Nouns Crying Faith«

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The Small Nouns Crying Faith

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The first word in this new collection by Phil Hall is "raw" and the last word is "blurtip." Between these, many nouns cry faith within a hook-less framework that sings in chorus while undermining such standard forms & tropes as "the memoir," "genealogy" and "the shepherd's calendar." With a rural pen, these poems talk frogs, carrots, local noises, partial words, remnants, dirt roads, deep breath & hope:

my laboratory the moment

is accordion-shaped - cluttered - sopping

& not eternal

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[Hall has created] a meditation on the poetic process that stimulates both the intellect and the imagination.

– Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star

Hall manages to rescue the lyrical essay from its recondite excesses and turn it into something that's as adventurous as it is readable. Hall has called himself a "surruralist," and this book charts his development as a writer, but it also demonstrates and furthers that development.

– Paul Vermeersh, The Globe and Mail

Hall is aware that he's aligned with an aesthetic of past decades that may not be fashionable, but he seems determined to keep its spirit alive by understanding what it tells us about our aesthetic today. To him I would give an award for unabashedly keeping an authentic Canadian poetic voice alive.

– The Montreal Gazette

Killdeer is a testament to the creative life as an act of faith and transformation.

– The Griffin Prize Judges

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Phil Hall’s most recent book of poems is called The Small Nouns Crying Faith. It came out this May from BookThug.

Hall was the 2011 winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in English for his book of essay-poems, Killdeer. In 2012, Killdeer also won Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, an Alcuin Design Award, and was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Previously, Trouble Sleeping (2001) was nominated for the Governor General’s Award, and An Oak Hunch (2005) was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

He has taught writing and literature at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College and elsewhere. Currently, he offers a manuscript mentoring service for the Toronto New School of Writing.

Hall has recently been writer-in-residence at Queens University & the University of Windsor. In fall 2013 he will be an instructor at the Banff Cenre for the Arts, in the Wired Writing Program.

He lives near Perth, Ontario.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Conjugation«

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Conjugation

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I am sitting outside at dawn on Otty Lake, where I live, in the woods. The light is coming over the trees, and each morning the poem is written as if right while it is being read.

A rough immediacy. Gap & Hum. Caesura. Syllables as musical notes.

The lyric weaving of honesty about the self—toward revelation & transformation.

My poetics has widened, here, to include more space, more primitive sounds and glyphs, less metaphor, less anecdote, more tangential conjugating…

My poetics, in its growing inclusiveness, is not sad but hopeful.

The term "conjugation" refers to more than the obvious grammatical movement of pronouns through time (I am / you are / they will be). For, in Biology, it also refers to the transfer of information between cells. And Conjugation—the new collection of poetry from Governor General’s Literary Award– and Trillium Book Award–winning poet Phil Hall—sees an open realm where individual letters inside a word are each rolling through their possibilities, from A to Z. Thereby, the language in this, Hall's eighteenth book of poetry, and the fourth to be published by BookThug, travels into and out of itself, as he says, "escaping my ego, while revealing, word by slightly different word, my deeper connections and disconnections to things—to what used to be called poetry's 'subjects.'"

Replete with images of the natural world and in some cases, the mechanisms that transform it–horses, leaping fish, trees, canals and locks—Hall has created in Conjugation at once a return to the nature/nurture elements that have wound their way through his earlier collections, but also a versed ode to the discouragement that many Canadians have felt about the progression of their country and government over the past number of years.

As much care was taken with the writing of this collection as the shaping of the poems themselves. Hall’s poems are shaped into a form of free-verse terza rima (2-line / 1-line alternating pattern), where spaces between phrases and words allow the syntax to be infused with floods of words from other angles. This results in a quilting or cross-hatching or braiding effect that ensures that readers will be captured in the flow of Conjugation's wordplay and the evolution that takes place through its pages.

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Praise for Conjugation:

"His gaze is not simply inward: these meditative poems take in the rural landscape of Eastern Ontario, the words of writers whose influence he honours and the nature of language itself. Like an auto mechanic working on an engine, Hall takes words and phrases apart, examines how they work, and tinkers." —Barb Carey, Toronto Star

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Phil Hall is a writer, editor, and teacher. His first book, Eighteen Poems, was published in 1973. Among his many published titles are: Old Enemy Juice (1988); The Unsaid (1992); Hearthedral-A Folk-Hermetic (1996); An Oak Hunch (2005); White Porcupine (BookThug, 2007); Killdeer (BookThug, 2011; winner of the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, the 2012 Trillium Book Award, and shortlisted for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize); The Small Nouns Crying Faith (BookThug, 2013); Guthrie Clothing: The Poetry of Phil Hall, a Selected Collage (2015); and My Banjo and Tiny Drawings (2015). Hall has taught writing at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College, and elsewhere, and has held the position of Poetry Editor for BookThug since 2013. Conjugation is his latest book. Phil lives with his wife near Perth, Ontario.

 
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