Taking off from the Promethean myth of human creation, Gillian Sze's second poetry collection explores the "anatomy of clay" and the individual as a sentient mystery. At times reflective, instructional, playful, or strange, the first section, Quotidianus, offers observational poems, which recount intimate and ordinary moments often missed, overlooked, or forgotten. Sze tugs at the fabric of habit and amidst the urban mundane finds her subjects in a woman waiting for the bus, a neighbour who talks to his plants, a girl smoking after a storm. The following section, Extimacy, takes a lyrical and confessional turn, veering inwards, dealing reflexively with the materiality of inner life: the self as ingredients, the self as experiment, the self as animal and artist. The Anatomy of Clay finds exceptions in the most prosaic conditions and the ineffable distinctions between people, selves, objects, and histories.
?We look away from his open mouth,
look instead at the corn, the crows
floating above the river in their private worries.
Tonight, when we turn in,
the candle will sputter and blow.
Pinched out easily, all flame
gives way to this wide black wing.
- excerpt from "Black Wing"
The poems in Ashland, originally published by ECW in 2003, lay the groundwork for Adamson's award-winning and internationally bestselling novel, The Outlander.
Neogothicism, the surrealist snapshot, feminist Western and postmodern parable are just some of the elements that feed Gil Adamson's second collection of poems. Adamson creates a world fully awash in violence and history, the absurdities of the frontier, the gorgeous terrors of death. Everything is simple, and yet nothing is as it seems.
Moving easily from prose poem to lyric, verbal portrait to improbable biography, Ashland leads us on a macabre tour of our nightmares, perverse secrets, and death-focused mythologies: "In the end we see ourselves. We last longer. The night opens its mouth, and we step in."
?Published in autumn 2001, Have Not Been the Same became the first book to comprehensively document the rise of Canadian underground rock between the years 1985 and 1995. It was a tumultuous decade that saw the arrival of Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Sarah McLachlan, Sloan, Barenaked Ladies, Daniel Lanois, and many others who made an indelible mark not only on Canadian culture, but on the global stage as well. Have Not Been the Same tells all of their stories in rich detail through extensive first-person interviews, while at the same time capturing the spirit of Canada's homegrown music industry on the cusp of the digital age.
Ten years on, the 780-page book is still regarded by critics and musicians as the definitive history of the era. To mark this milestone, the authors have updated many key areas of the book through new interviews, further illuminating the ongoing influence of this generation of artists. And with its treasure trove of rare photos intact, this revised edition of Have Not Been the Same is sure to maintain the book's status as one of the seminal works in the field of Canadian music writing, and a must-read for any Canadian music fan.