Completed Field Notes: The Long Poems of Robert Kroetsch

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University of Alberta, 2000 - Poetry - 252 pages
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A series of diary entries. Marginalia from Pausanias's description of Greece. A nineteenth century ledger. Postcards from China. What do these ostensibly unrelated things have in common? Little or nothing, except when transformed into verse by Robert Kroetsch, one of Canada's most accomplished writers. Completed Field Notes showcases 20 of Kroetsch's long poems, spanning some 15 years of creative activity. Remarkably versatile in both form and content, these extended meditations bear witness to Kroetsch's modernist inheritance and his well-known postmodern jouissance. Whether it be the evocation of an Australian beach or the account of the stone hammer found in a prairie field, we find again and again delight and elusiveness in Kroetsch's poetic journeys. In "Letters to Salonika" Kroetsch writes: "Time rewrites every book. We try so to construct a book that time, rewriting, will make it better." This newly typeset edition of the original, with an introduction by poet Fred Wah, has certainly been re-cast by time. But this is not to say that these "field notes" have reached any stage of completion. On the contrary, they will remain open to a new generation of readers, offering a voyage of the mind and spirit, inside and outside language.
 

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Contents

Stone Hammer Poem
3
FIELD NOTE
9
The Ledger
11
Seed Catalogue
29
How I Joined the Seal Herd
47
The Sad Phoenician
51
The Silent Poet Sequence
66
The Winnipeg
73
Letters to Salonika
130
Postcards from China
159
Commentary
170
The Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof
189
Sounding the Name
200
The Poets Mother
206
COUNTRY WESTERN
211
Excerpts from the Real World
213

Sketches of a Lemon
76
The Criminal Intensities of Love as Paradise
81
fi ADVICE TO MY FRIE 97 Advice to My Friends
97
Mile Zero
117
Spending the Morning on the Beach
237
After Paradise
245
Authors Note
251
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About the author (2000)

Robert Kroetsch was born on June 26, 1927 in Heisler, Alberta, Canada. He received a B.A. from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Iowa. He taught English at the State University of New York in Binghamton and at the University of Manitoba. His first novel, But We Are Exiles, was published in 1965. During his lifetime, he wrote nine books of fiction, seven books of non-fiction, and fourteen collections of poetry. His works included The Words of My Roaring, Gone Indian, Badlands, Alibi, and Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait. He received several awards including the Governor General's Award for Fiction in 1969 for The Studhorse Man, the Lieutenant Governor's Alberta Distinguished Artist award, and the Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Writers Guild of Alberta. He was named and Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004. He was killed in car accident on June 21, 2011 at the age of 84.

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