Return to Open Water: Poems New & Selected

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Ronsdale Press, 2007 - Poetry - 149 pages
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To Harold Rhenisch, poetry is a wisdom path equal to Zen, or a pilgrimage on the holy road from Seville to Minsk. 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, tongue-in-cheek deconstructions and celebrations of philosophy and literature, laments for the missteps of history, enraged political blasts, and deep ecological lyrics. Mozart enters riding the bulls into the Williams Lake Stampede, and a rhinestoned Jesus sings Elvis lyrics on a car hoist at Canadian Tire. In Return to Open Water this award-winning poet and critic fuses American, British and European verse traditions into a poetics that re-imagines literature and history and returns them to us in illuminated form. Long-praised for his innovative creative non-fiction and his mastery of the long poem form, Rhenisch presents the roots of that intelligence and its furthest extensions. This "New & Selected" presents the best poems?comical, elegiac, satiric and lyrical? from twelve volumes of verse of one of Canada's best, most original, and most mercurial poets.

"Everything past and present composts in this rich collection of poetry which feeds the roots of the trees Harold Rhenisch persuades into a cathedral shape. This book, a temple with a sweet grass floor, raised voices, echoes, soaring spires and the blessing of rain, is the organic church of poetry."

?Linda Rogers

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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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