Monday, July 06, 2009

Selected Poems by Robert Bringhurst

A new book by Robert Bringhurst is always a noteworthy event. Bringhurst is an author, typographer, translator and award-winning poet and each of his books is a work of art on every level.

It seems to me there is something even more special about Selected Poems (Gaspereau Press), a single volume that brings together selections from several of Bringhurst’s collections including The Beauty of the Weapons and The Calling. It also includes a new series of poems called “The Living.”
The ear of language rests
On the breast of world,
Unable to know and unable to care
Whether it listens inward or outward.
Everything about Selected Poems is extraordinary. The first hint of it is in the plain black cover, no image. The title and the author’s name are printed in silver ink in a plain, serif font. This stark understatement is typical of Bringhurst. And the book’s deceptively simple production speaks volumes for the work itself. Just enough, always. A little less, perhaps, than another might give, but it’s the correct less. The right less. Somehow defining the work by what is not there as much as by what is.

Those who already enjoy Bringhurst’s work will want to add Selected Poems to their collections. And if you’ve never before encountered his sparse, elemental imagery will find this collection a perfect place to start.

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