Garments Of The Known by Norm SacutaGarments Of The Known by Norm Sacuta

Garments Of The Known

byNorm Sacuta

Paperback | October 5, 2001

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With its juxtaposition of Canadian prairie with the downs of southern England, with its movement between reality and dream, night and day, Norm Sacuta's brilliant debut poetry collection, Garments of the Known, uses both traditional verse forms and linguistic fracture to create a most passionate landscape.

That landscape is always half one world, half another. As a gay man in Alberta, Sacuta's verse lends a wary eye to the political and the dangerous, even as it articulately pokes fun at the whole notion of a gay identity and the imagery needed to express it. He has also lived and studied in England, and that experience mirrors the struggle between tradition and experimentation in his verse, and a voice caught between a sense of familial belonging and cultural expatriation.

Garments of the Known marks the arrival of a powerful, original new voice in Canadian poetry, a voice that will continue to be heard from in years to come.
Norm Sacuta was raised in Edmonton, and has returned to live in the city twice, after attending the University of British Columbia in 1987 and after studying in England for three years in the 1990s. It was in England that he was exposed to the politically charged atmosphere of the Sexual Dissidence and Cultural Change Program at the U...
Title:Garments Of The KnownFormat:PaperbackDimensions:80 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 0.3 inPublished:October 5, 2001Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:088971178x

ISBN - 13:9780889711785

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Read from the Book

The Hills Are a LieJoin me on this tour of the English Downswhere the Long Man is re-cut into sod,more deeply than those pre-historic menintended; intention the trutheasily cut into. Is this the first stenciland so the only authority left? Forget hieroglyphs,called down when the Rosetta Stoneturned falcons into argument.The Long Man looks down,a little white lying on green.Seven horses carved on the South Downs Way.One a gentleman thought too smalland far too hung. In 1850 hewiped anatomy clean, made it biggerin that big Victorian Way. He made truth.And the story goes from there, commonlyout of the mouths of guides.The one horse that speaks to youand you and you.Let's lie at nightin the hard-on at Cerne Abbaschalk-drawn around us, those spademade balls re-edged lovingly out of lawn,caught between the legs of another walkingman. The fertility of youwasted on the likes of me.Let's lie between two rocksand a hard place, wellon our way. Stepping in the trepidation of flesh that will become myth.How to Talk to a Brushcut Manpretend you've never touched one beforeask if you can touch itact as if nothing's happeneduse metaphorsmoleskinbilliard ballvelcroask if you can borrow his combask if he's in mourningsay nothingsay it will grow backask for a lock to remember him byrub him the wrong waycomment on the napcomment on the napesay he looks like someone famouselvis in g.i. bluesoliver northsinead o'connorgrace joneswhisper to him and feel itwonder how it feels moving between your legsask what shape he leaves on his pillowsay how much you hated the beatlescheck his professioncheck his politicsdon't mention his earsLove of the SameI dream my mother's mausoleum.She will have no such thing.But I dream it, walk with footfallsechoing before each frame,as in a film with sound gone wrong, a songracing ahead without the singer.So this is my mother's mausoleum, I thinkin my dream, knowing how ridiculous.The floor is slate, pink and grey, echoingas I approach the white stonesarcophagus cast in her shape. I knowthis dream is a memory of England --Canterbury Cathedral's stone bishopsdead around the nave, so manywith such a long history of dying.My mother's sarcophagus, yet I don't rememberhow the mask looked -- why the need?I know her well. My dream understood.I see only stone, smooth and white,lifeless as memory. There is no fear in waking. She lives still, at 73.In life, my father struggled on a gurneysix days longer than expected. After aortic-valvereplacement he pulled at tubes catching his voice, wanted to hear himself shout at my mother. He yankeduntil nurses tied his hands to the metal catch we leaned against.Fear grew, though he lived, pressed likethe pillow clutched against his chest--deep coughsto clear his lungs, the pressure appliedkept his stitches from bursting.Two years on, he can't look at the scar.My mother wants no funeral. My father does.This is where their opposition ends.For in their aging they return to parentslong dead. This is no metaphor.They have become immigrants that smile and wave as if parting on a dock.My father's plot -- purchased beside his mother,father, in a town that ceased to existwhen the railroad pulled out. He will reston the incline above Byemoor.A second plot my mother will never use.She has an envelope in my fileswith no secrets--she will be burned to ashand sprinkled across her mother's grave in Medicine Hat.Our days, so many, build memory into life.That husband and wife count their days, as days go on,back to blood and birth and love as a child --not love of an other. Love of the same.Mother, Father, I am the same, but nevermade your break -- to make my own.You are my lovers, as anyman with man knows. My fear grows.And one day that dream, my mother's sarcophagusa few steps away, the white stonethat will wake meto a life so alone.

Table of Contents

I. The South Downs Way
The Hills Are a Lie
Sappho, at Fifteen
Old Story
Tower Rook
Nothing to Write Home About
November 22, 1963
What I Wanted to Say
For Frederick Fleet
sing-rail trilogy

II. Inland
Sonnets for the Policeman in an Edmonton Sun Photograph
Death of a Scuba Diver at West Edmonton Mall
Another Letter to the Dead
Morning after the Rodeo
gay in stock's time
Alberta Pick-Ups
Summer Windigo

III. Night Watch
What of the Night?
The Lengths He'll Go
Sleeping with Michael
For Michael, in Part
In the Lottery Corp
How to Talk to a Brushcut Man
Down on Vegas
For Robert -- Now in College, and Finally on Stage
A Fairy's Rings
A Brief History of a Fundamentalist
as for that cap in your back pocket
Last night on CBC
Hallway Light

IV. Love of the Same
Love of the Same
Exposure (Hail Storm, July 25/77)
Soft Shoe
My Brother's War Models
My Mother's War Story
Radio Free
A Poet Recalls Fiction