Bastardi Puri

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2005 - Poetry - 87 pages
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Walid Bitar's poems read as if transmitted in softly staccato impulses from some remote time-warp in the tenth dimension. They crackle with the static of unique ciphers hurled over huge distances and we don't know at first whether they are entreaties or imprecations. Certain poems threaten, others cajole; all buzz with an energy of language that sometimes splits open the husks of their forms. Weird images and weirder personages perch upon his stanzas, not only Rhodesian Ridgebacks in constitutional snits, Actaeons ogling Diana's physique, and Tarzan in quicksand but the poet himself, weirdest of all, whose remarkable voice plots constellations and libels the starry nights. To read Bitar is to take a round-trip ticket on the Drunken Boat. His unusual and distinctive voice is by turns caustic and capricious, attuned to `rain and its minions' but also painfully aware that `to whip is human, to be whipped divine.' Best of all, like a speechless man suddenly given language, `this ambassador from El Dorado' frolics and cavorts in his `underground patois' with startling originality and mischievous flair. This is a book of poems torn between the comic and the inconsolable, now `surrendering to polkas in some smoky dive' but also, and at the same time, `Eternity's pied--terre.'

 

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Contents

Theatre
9
Theseus
10
The Posse
11
Sports
12
The Gilded
14
The Mechanics of Banality
15
Illegal Resident
16
Fasting
18
Anonymous
32
Baksheesh
33
Time Stands Still
34
Local Colour
35
A Real Character
36
Coded Message
37
Proteus
38
Blague
39

The Island Porcile
19
The Fourth Person
20
A Night in the Capital
21
Customs
22
Guerrilla
24
Progress Report
25
Panopticon
27
Pasha
28
Abstraction
31
The Breaking of Toys
40
Survival of the Fittest
41
The Consolation of Blasphemy
43
The Cameras of Verona
44
Grand Tour
45
Bio Diversity
46
Ctesiphon
47
An Apparatchik
49
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About the author (2005)

Walid Bitar was born in Beirut in 1961. He immigrated to Canada in 1969. He has taught English, most recently at Lebanese American University. His other poetry collections are Maps With Moving Parts (Brick, 1988), 2 Guys on Holy Land (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England, 1993) and The Empire's Missing Links (Signal Editions/Vehicule Press, 2008). He now lives in Toronto.

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