Return to Open Water: Poems New & Selected

Front Cover
Ronsdale Press, 2007 - Poetry - 149 pages
To Harold Rhenisch, poetry is a wisdom path equal to Zen, or a pilgrimage on the holy road from Seville to Minsk, and even to Stand Up Comedy. His poems are also scripts for performance, on a stage between dance and mathematics, honed through decades of public readings. Here is a breadth of musicality ranging from solo piano improvisations, to jazz quartets, klezmer music, musical hall, and even operatic arias. In this spirited celebration of the creative spirit, Rhenisch presents a vision of the world that places Canada, and poetry, at the crossroads of world culture. Included are a hymn for whales, a love poem for herring, black-comic stagings of Shakespeare (the women get the main parts), spells for love, tongue-in-cheek deconstructions and celebrations of philosophy and literature, laments for the missteps of history, enraged political blasts, deep ecological lyrics, Mozart riding the bulls into the Williams Lake Stampede, and a rhinestoned Jesus singing Elvis Lyrics on a car hoist at Canadian Tire. In "Return to Open Water "this award-winning poet, critic, and cultural critic fuses American, British and European verse traditions into a poetics able to reimagine literature and history and return them to us in illuminated form. Long-praised for his innovative creative non-fiction and his mastery of the long poem form, in this volume Rhenisch presents the roots of that intelligence and its furthest extensions, as he centres Canada on the world literary map. Previously printed in small editions from small presses across the country, this volume presents the best poems -- comical, elegiac, satiric and lyrical -- from the twelve volumes of verse of one of Canada's best, most original, and most mercurial poets.

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About the author (2007)

Harold Rhenisch has published eleven collections of poetry, including Taking the Breath Away (Ronsdale, 1998), a novel, Carnival, about a boy coming of age in wartime Germany, and two books of bio-regional essays. The latest, Tom Thomson's Shack, was nominated for two BC Book Prizes. He recently received the ARC 2003 Poem of the Year award. He studied drama and writing in Victoria, farmed in the Okanagan, and has represented Canadian poetry in England. He lives in 150 Mile House, B.C.

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