Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn by Tim LilburnDesire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn by Tim Lilburn

Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn

byTim LilburnEditorAlison Calder

Paperback | December 15, 2006

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The selected poems in Desire Never Leaves span Tim Lilburn’s career, demonstrating the evolution of a unique and careful thinker as he takes his place among the nation’s premier writers. This edition of his poetry untangles many of the strands running through his works, providing insight into a poetic world that is both spectacular and humbling.

The introduction by Alison Calder situates Lilburn’s writing in an alternate tradition of prairie poetry that relies less on the vernacular and more on philosophy and meditation. Examining Lilburn’s antecedents in Christian mysticism and the ascetic tradition, Calder stresses the paradoxical nature of Lilburn’s writing—the expression of loss through plenitude. The divine in the natural world is glimpsed in brief flashes; nevertheless, the poet, driven by love, continues his quest for what glitters in things.

Tim Lilburn’s afterword is an evocative meditation grounded in personal history. He speaks of how poetry, a craning quiet, allows one to hear what is alive in the world. He also describes how poetry is resolutely attached to both a historical moment and an individual subjectivity that is inevitably anchored in time. Lilburn’s poetry is both a religious undertaking and a political gesture that speaks to the urgency of situating ourselves where we live.

Alison Calder has published widely on Canadian prairie literature and culture, including critical editions of Settlers of the Marsh and Over Prairie Trails by Frederick Philip Grove, and Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn. Her poetry collections are Wolf Tree and In the Tiger Park, and with Jeanette Lynes she is the co-auth...
Title:Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim LilburnFormat:PaperbackDimensions:64 pages, 9.04 × 6.05 × 0.19 inPublished:December 15, 2006Publisher:Wilfrid Laurier University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889205140

ISBN - 13:9780889205147

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Read from the Book

Contemplation Is Mourning by Tim Lilburn You lie down in the deer's bed.It is bright with the undersides of grass revealed by her weight during thelength of her sleep. No one comes here; grass humsbecause the body's touched it. Aspen leaves below you sour like horsesafter a run. There are snowberries, fescue.This is the edge of the known world and the beginning of philosophy.Looking takes you so far on a leash of delight, then removes it and saysthe price of admission to further is your name. Either the desert and winterof what the deer is in herself or a palace life disturbed by itches and soundsfelt through the gigantic walls. Choose.Light comes through pale trees as mind sometimes kisses the body.The hills are the bones of hills.The deer cannot be known. She is the Atlantic, she is Egypt, she isthe night where her names go missing, to walk into her oddness is; to feel severed, sick, darkened, ashamed.Her body is a border crossing, a wall and a perfume and past thisshe is infinite. And it is terrible to enter this.You lie down in the deer's bed, in the green martyrion, the place wherelanguage buries itself, waiting place, weem.You will wait. You will lean into the darkness of her absentbody. You will be shaved and narrowed by the barren strangeness of thedeer, the wastes of her oddness. Snow is coming. Light is cool,nearly drinkable; from grass protrudes the hard, lostsmell of last year's melted snow.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for
Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn, selected with an introduction by Alison Calder


Neil Besner

Biographical Note


Alison Calder

Names Of God

Love At The Center Of Objects

Allah Of The Green Circuitry

Light’s Gobbling Eye

Theophany And Argument


Fervourino To A Barn Of Milking Doe Goats Early Easter Morning

Call To Worship In A Mass For The Life Of The World

Elohim Mocks His Images For The Life Of The World

I Bow To It

Spirit Of Agriculture, 1986

In The Hills, Watching

Contemplation Is Mourning

How To Be Here?



There Is No Presence

A Book Of Exhaustion



Afterword: Walking Out of Silence

Tim Lilburn


Editorial Reviews

``Desire Never Leaves ... is an excellent explanatory introduction to Lilburn's craft, Catholicism, and Prairie mysticism, thanks in part to one of Lilburn's own essays that serves as a postface.'' - Georges Fetherling - Seven Oaks, May 2007 - 200706