Blue Himalayan Poppies by Jay RuzeskyBlue Himalayan Poppies by Jay Ruzesky

Blue Himalayan Poppies

byJay Ruzesky

Paperback | October 5, 2001

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With Blue Himalayan Poppies, Jay Ruzesky collects his best poetry of the past seven years. Acclaimed as one of Canada's most interesting and innovative contemporary poets for his first two books, Am I Glad to See You (Thistledown, 1992) and the highly praised and influential Painting the Yellow House Blue (Anansi, 1994), Ruzesky has produced his best collection yet.

Ruzesky applies his fully matured and honed skills to the creation of a stunning fresco that spans the universal dilemma of life itself: the haunting and invigorating importance of family and lifelong friends ("the way the sudden memory of someone/ surprises the mind"), both the comfort and the solitude brought about by love, the ever-present desire of escape and the never ending circle of the routine, destruction and most importantly, regeneration.

In Blue Himalayan Poppies, a borrowed book becomes a stolen token of intimate love, a looming mushroom cloud signifies a teenage couple's belief in the overriding power of human vitality, an empty hotel room turns into a scene of lust so intense and unbridled that it could only be a product of a maid's imagination and a common household is transformed into a glowing Garden of Eden by a sidewalk chalk artist. Jay Ruzesky's exploration of everyday life is a boon and a treasure to us all; he offers the big picture, in which he is just as likely to inform little plastic men found under the couch that "grief/ is the other side/ of the pleasure your faces speak of" as he is to relate the astonishment of looking into the night sky and realizing "Oh my God, it's full of stars."
Jay Ruzesky's fiction, poetry, and non-fiction has been published in Canada and internationally and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. His previous books include Blue Himalayan Poppies, Painting the Yellow House Blue, and Am I Glad To See You. His first novel, The Wolsenburg Clock, was shortlisted for the City of Victori...
Title:Blue Himalayan PoppiesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:112 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 0.3 inPublished:October 5, 2001Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889711763

ISBN - 13:9780889711761

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Read from the Book

Blue Himalayan Poppies The stems, in their happiness, wave goodbye, a dart-pattern of spear grass caught against the black dog's ankle. Seeds and their smallness; the way they ride toward the future always. Such hope makes unlikely light from the most distant stars possible. Later in the day they'll drop into the warm earth. I never guessed you would have crossed some great distance to settle everywhere in my arms. * How was I to know this, briefly, like the touch of smallest fingers, after a long winter and the Chinese New Year. End of the Year of the Dog, beginning of the Year of the Pig. Does it matter? Maybe not, except summer now, full of your small self on my shoulders and how the sun catches in sea-spray, rocks below and the edge moving further off. * This morning I read the poems my friend sent: postmarks from Izmir and Parma. Sometimes I think this house, the mortgage--my god there's a station wagon in the driveway-- even you, sometimes I think, even you.... I am jealous of languages I don't understand, mosques with roofs like round fruit. The seeds of fruit that can't grow unless a bird digests them, sprouted like second spines. The planet revolves under our feet, around the sun, around the centre of the centre, as in the living room I hold you tight and spin to the sound of Billie Holiday. * Most seeds are lifted by wind. This afternoon I blew white dandelions across the yard. There are days meant for us when the light is trying to tell us something. Even the blue Himalayan poppy, which blooms once perfectly before dying, is showing off. I talk in your mouth and you open bird-like to swallow words. This is my pleasure. You like round ones best: igloo, overalls, loop, moon, shoe. There is nothing in this milky world as small as your breath. * Do you know coconuts migrate by water to new beaches? They collapse on the dunes after all that time of waves passing them hand to hand. To live in a place like this you must first imagine it. Already I am sad for anything you missed while you were here. But I walk with you until you sleep. Somewhere is a beach, a palm and high in its branches a bird, red feathers declaring I am here. Lombard Street He says yes to the long drive knowing there will be fights with the brother, threats from the father, the mother's silence and bad navigation through complex American freeways. Yes to Alcatraz, trolley cars, someone he wishes he could be momentarily skateboarding down a steep incline toward the low and distant bay, Chinatown, and Fisherman's Wharf. Yes to dinner at the Hilton with its palate-cleansing sorbets between courses. Yes to Lombard Street, the most twisted street in the world, the family car climbing and this small boy outlined in the rear window, his balloon an empty word bubble in the frame-- some cartoon character who forgot what he was about to say. Yes to the evening drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, as the city closes its slow eyes. Yes to the next day and drive home again, to the next year when his voice broke, and to first sex sweet in the attic of the cabin. Yes to doing it again in the morning, then to the few women in his life who taught him what he knows. Yes to the birth of his child, to the house and jewelled yard around it. Yes to the dog. And now he's well into it, there's no turning back. Around another hairpin climbing steadily beyond the silence surrounding the dog's inevitable end, so yes even to the death of his parents and yes to being there each time. Yes to all the routes that sent him corkscrewing forever up like an aria. Yes to watching his daughter back the car down the driveway graduating highschool. Then yes to old age and to senior's discounts at Sears. Yes to memory and forgetting, the decline of his body, to those who check on him on weekends, and to the someone who pushes him out to the park in a wheelchair. Yes to light and dark and closing, and Lombard Street's hedges and red bougainvillaea.

Table of Contents

Long Beach
Lending Library
It Was Good to Grow Up with the Bomb
Controlled Burn
The Moon Changes, Even as Your Mind
Long Distance
Flight 3625: Vancouver to Toronto
Chesterman's Beach

Glass Eye
The Sky That Night
A Map of the Western States
On First Looking over Chapman Motors
Life on Mars
Faithful Street
Mies van der Rohe
Albino Crow
The Myth of Sisyphus
A Story
Chickadee Poem

The Creation of Adam
Fishing with the Boy
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Green-Eyed Monster
Lombard Street
Last Judgement
Portrait of a Child with Fever
Drinking Song
The Golden Pheasant
The Tyndall Effect
Blue Himalayan Poppies

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Ruzesky's previous work:

Jay Ruzesky ... casts a transforming eye on everyday moments [with] a scrupulousness and an attentiveness to human mystery.
--Books in Canada

He demonstrates the poet's capabilities of entering imaginatively into the ten thousand strands of being ... Ruzesky achieves poems of extraordinary vision and tenderness.