Lookout

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Lookout

by John Steffler

McClelland & Stewart | March 16, 2010 | Trade Paperback

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The first collection of new poems in more than a decade from one of Canada’s most respected poets
 
The poems in John Steffler’s new collection are enlivened by the same muscular acts of attention that characterize his earlier books. As always, his poems inhabit experience fully, senses on high alert, transmitting the abundance and turbulence of physical existence; they are charged with the raw Eros of being. Nowhere is there a more complete nature poet: attuned, robust, honest, fully informal, and emotionally candid, brimming with energy and animal spirits. Many of the poems in Lookout explore and evoke specific landscapes: the limestone barrens of Newfoundland; the Blomidon and Lewis Hills; the Greek Islands. Others dwell on personal relationships: lover, pregnant daughter, and a touching, finely tuned sequence on a family coping with a mother’s Alzheimer’s. There is also a wonderful set of meditations on photographs from the archives in Newfoundland. Canadian literature is blessed – and animated – by John Steffler’s contributions to it.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 120 pages, 8.25 × 5.49 × 0.32 in

Published: March 16, 2010

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771082673

ISBN - 13: 9780771082672

Found in: Poetry

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– More About This Product –

Lookout

by John Steffler

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 120 pages, 8.25 × 5.49 × 0.32 in

Published: March 16, 2010

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771082673

ISBN - 13: 9780771082672

About the Book

The first collection of new poems in more than a decade from one of Canada's most respected poets and the recent Poet Laureate of Canada.
The wide-ranging poems in Lookout -- John Steffler's first book of new poems since his award-winning That Night We Were Ravenous" "(1998) -- celebrate the landscape and history of western Newfoundland, which is inseparable from an exploration of the poet's own life. The poems embrace the limestone barrens on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula and the poet's personal life, the end of a marriage, the beginnings of new love. There is also a series of poems about his parents' struggle to deal with his mother's Alzheimer's during the last year of her life.

Read from the Book

The Role of Calcium in Evolution
 
Sweet calcium we found we could live with,
stir into our cells’ hubbub, tinker into
a trellis to carry our fi erce red vine – its
eyeball blossoms, cunt orchids, cock orchids –
we could whittle it into bone stilts and paddles,
hooks, tongs, helmets, mallets, cleavers, awls,
fl utes, rasps, rattles, corsets, folding spokes,
but then, oh god the weight of all these
contraptions! Just throw them out and be
light! While the old hardware clatters
down like Victorian claw-foot settees
settling in scrap heaps – the ear trumpets,
the spurs compressed in archaeological
fi les – we fl oat careless as fruit fl ies
in an armoury, all the weight lifted,
tra-la! But the dark rock candy of history
dissolves in the rain, leaking the diatom’s binary
code, the lobster’s molecular gospel into
the water we drink. Sleepless we pore over
Things You Can Make with Calcium in cellular
Braille. As soon as you throw something away
you need the damn thing! Hinged pincers
down here somewhere under the catapults and
greaves. Tell me how else to deal with the world!

Table of Contents

LIMESTONE BARRENS
The Role of Calcium in Evolution
Book Rock
Cape Norman
Park Office
Barrens Willow
Wind Shadow, L’Anse aux Meadows
Revelations
Notes on Burnt Cape
Location
Warm Shallow Sea
 
OUTSIDE
Dividing Island
Marine Drive
Body and Soul
Under Blomidon Face
Tree near York Harbour
Swoop
Inside the Boiler of the ss Ethie
Beyond Names and Laws
Wissembourg, Alsace
Amorgos
Sunburnt on Naxos
There Is No One to Blame
Bloodroot
Mail from My Pregnant Daughter
 
ONCE
 
OUTSIDE
Removals
It Is a Blue Dome
Collecting, Bay of Islands
Uplands
Skink’s Tail
Lean-to
Beating the Bounds
Under Mad Dog Lake
Battle at Halfway Point
Melancholy Facts
Bear Brains
Smudging the Map
Blomidon Head
In the Winter
After Ten Days Together
Without Maps
Kiparissia
Tomb of Clytemnestra
Mystra
Mycenae
 
COLONIAL BUILDING ARCHIVES
VA13 Humber Mouth
A10-142 Settlement at Mount Moriah
A10-150 Holloway: John’s Beach
A20-86 Postcard: Cement Plant, 1955
A30-160 Building the Paper Mill
VA28 Postcard: Paper Machine
A30-158 Wood Supply
A30-161 Mill Manager’s House, Corner Brook
B10-38 Lee Wulff Fishing the Upper Humber
B10-39 Lee Wulff Fishing the Upper Humber
B10-40 Exploits River
B10-43 Self-portrait, Serpentine Valley
 
Acknowledgements

From the Publisher

The first collection of new poems in more than a decade from one of Canada’s most respected poets
 
The poems in John Steffler’s new collection are enlivened by the same muscular acts of attention that characterize his earlier books. As always, his poems inhabit experience fully, senses on high alert, transmitting the abundance and turbulence of physical existence; they are charged with the raw Eros of being. Nowhere is there a more complete nature poet: attuned, robust, honest, fully informal, and emotionally candid, brimming with energy and animal spirits. Many of the poems in Lookout explore and evoke specific landscapes: the limestone barrens of Newfoundland; the Blomidon and Lewis Hills; the Greek Islands. Others dwell on personal relationships: lover, pregnant daughter, and a touching, finely tuned sequence on a family coping with a mother’s Alzheimer’s. There is also a wonderful set of meditations on photographs from the archives in Newfoundland. Canadian literature is blessed – and animated – by John Steffler’s contributions to it.

From the Jacket

Praise for John Steffler:
"In a profound way, John Steffler's poetry is concerned with cultural identity and memory, and provides a touchstone for Canadians seeking a way to move forward as a nation…. What makes John Steffler's poetry so valuable is that his consideration of the philosophical problems of memory, history and identity speaks directly to key preoccupations in Canadian culture today."
— from Letter of Nomination for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate

"John Steffler is Canada's most sensuously passionate writer. Reading him, we are put in touch with the pure erotic draw which the world exercises upon him. The acuity of his perception, and the size of his heart, make his poems an essential part of our literature."
— Don McKay, Griffin Poetry Prize winner for Strike/Slip

"Steffler paints the wilderness in a language that often 'knocks and hisses and crackles,' but nothing of the poetry here sounds contrived or artificial. [Steffler's work] subtly nudges the reader along, never falling prey to the usual grab-bag of bells and whistles. It is a work that teems with images that are celebratory of life, ones that quietly ring with the music of the land."
— Montreal Gazette

"John Steffler is one of our finest lyric poets in mid-career."
— Ken Babstock, Globe and Mail

"[John Steffler's poems] reveal an unexpected side to the exotic and hidden dimensions of the familiar…. Part keen-eyed naturalist, part exuberant philosopher, Steffler memorializes the terrain of his beloved Newfoundland, in particular, with disarming whimsy and grace. His descriptions are vivid and metaphysically resonant, too."
— Barbara Carey, Toronto Star

About the Author

John Steffler was the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2006 to 2008. His previous books of poetry include The Grey Islands, That Night We Were Ravenous, winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize, and Helix: New and Selected Poems, winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Poetry Prize. Steffler is also the author of the award-winning novel The Afterlife of George Cartwright.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for John Steffler: "In a profound way, John Steffler''s poetry is concerned with cultural identity and memory, and provides a touchstone for Canadians seeking a way to move forward as a nation…. What makes John Steffler''s poetry so valuable is that his consideration of the philosophical problems of memory, history and identity speaks directly to key preoccupations in Canadian culture today." — from Letter of Nomination for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate "John Steffler is Canada''s most sensuously passionate writer. Reading him, we are put in touch with the pure erotic draw which the world exercises upon him. The acuity of his perception, and the size of his heart, make his poems an essential part of our literature." — Don McKay, Griffin Poetry Prize winner for Strike/Slip "Steffler paints the wilderness in a language that often ''knocks and hisses and crackles,'' but nothing of the poetry here sounds contrived or artificial. [Steffler''s work] subtly nudges the reader along, never falling prey to the usual grab-bag of bells and whistles. It is a work that teems with images that are celebratory of life, ones that quietly ring with the music of the land." — Montreal Gazette "John Steffler is one of our finest lyric poets in mid-career." — Ken Babstock, Globe and Mail "[John Steffler''s poems] reveal an unexpected side to the exotic and hidden dimensions of the familiar…. Part keen-eyed nat
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