Ursa Major

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Gaspereau Press, Apr 30, 2008 - Poetry - 96 pages
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A new-edition reprint of Robert Bringhurst's polyphonic masque. Shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2004, the National Post calls Ursa Major “a typically majestic and dedicated piece of work.” Described by the author as “a poem that marries Cree, Roman and Greek traditions in a form that is a cross between a five-act play and a string quartet,” Ursa Major sounds out variations on the story of the great bear constellation in four languages, using parallel voices to enhance the fascinating discovery of a central myth in multiple cultures. Ursa Major was first performed by the Regina dance company New Dance Horizons in 2002. This volume attempts to express that performance on the page, with a reading version and a multi-coloured “Voice Map” representing the poem's polyphonic characteristics typographically. The cover and title page feature a wood engraving by Wesley Bates.

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About the author (2008)

Robert Bringhurst was born October 16, 1946, in the ghetto of South Central Los Angeles and raised in the mountain and desert country of Alberta, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia. He spent ten years as an undergraduate, studying physics, architecture and linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, philosophy and oriental languages at the University of Utah, and comparative literature at Indiana University, which gave him a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. He had published two books of poems before entering the writing program at the University of British Columbia, which awarded him an MFA in 1975. From 1977 to 1980 he taught writing and English literature at UBC, and after that, made his living as a typographer. He has also been poet-in-residence and writer-in-residence at several universities in North America and Europe. His book, The Elements of Typographic Style is considered a standard text in its field, and Black Canoe is one of the classics in the field of Native American art history. He received the Macmillan Prize for Poetry in 1975.

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