On Abducting the 'Cello by Wayne CliffordOn Abducting the 'Cello by Wayne Clifford

On Abducting the 'Cello

byWayne Clifford

Paperback | February 15, 2004

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In 1965, Clifford published Man In A Window, his first collection of poems. This, in itself, was not particularly remarkable, but literary history was being made nonetheless. Clifford was the first acquisitions editor at Coach House Press, and Man In A Window was Coach House's first trade publication -- released in an edition of 300, illustrated with silkscreened nudes.

This is how such things were done ... in the alley behind Huron Street ... in the shadow of Rochdale College ... for just the one brief shining moment ... at a time in the very late sixties.

On Abducting the 'Cello is Clifford's first trade publication since 1979. It is an important book, and an unlikely publication. Clifford is arguably the Missing Link, the one Thread in the continuum of Canadian Verse that connects the radical formalism of bpNichol and Company (I'm thinking here of McCaffery, Dutton, and the Four Horsemen) with the traditional forms practised by many of PQL's current roster (I'm thinking here of P.K. Page who, doubtless, would insist on her righteous place in hipsterdom -- but in the Forties, presumably, rather than the Sixties).

Outrageous images, snippets of gossip and chat, a rare verbal dexterity and mastery of form all collide in Wayne Clifford's unusual and unexpected sequence of sonnets. One of the oldest of poetic forms, the sonnet is here re-invented and proves itself, in Clifford's hands, commodious enough for all types of speech, from high diction to gutter slang, all in impeccable rhyme and stanza. Informed throughout with a profound love of music in all its forms, On Abducting the 'Cello ranges from Kodaly to Stevie Wonder, Elmer Fudd to Jung, Emmaus to Treblinka. Written over a period of many years, revised and pondered, and pondered again, this is a startling and delightful collection of poems that succeeds in `making it new' while wrestling with such perennial conundrums as `love's delirious solipsism' in language at once antic and grave, melodious and irrepressibly zany.

Wayne Clifford was born in Toronto in 1944. He studied English at University College at the University of Toronto in the mid sixties during which time he came to be associated with a small coterie of students that included Stan Bevington, Dennis Reid, Doris and Judith Cowan, and David Bolduc. Wayne also remembers Tangiers Al, but not c...
Title:On Abducting the 'CelloFormat:PaperbackDimensions:64 pages, 8.73 × 5.57 × 0.22 inPublished:February 15, 2004Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:088984237X

ISBN - 13:9780889842373

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from No One Else Can Do This, Let Alone as Well A reviewer on this site complained he had to look up words while reading Clifford's book, demonstrating that the illiterate are still with us. This story is literate, surely, and zany, as the publisher claims, and honest and sad and ironic and funny! I didn't need to look up a thing, but I did need to pause while the tears from my laughter settled down. And the lumps in my throat.
Date published: 2007-11-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Very Impressive... I have loved poetry for many years but Wayne Clifford's - On Abducting the 'Cello was not very pleasing as I thought it would be. With Wayne's choice of words, I found myself using a dictionary the entire time reading the book. This book is a slap in the face because I was expecting something that would totally blow me away, yet I felt like I was on some form of Illegal Narcotic trying to understand what Wayne was saying. I was not very pleased with this recent publication at all. Very poor Wayne, very poor.
Date published: 2004-04-12

Editorial Reviews

`Clifford's 53 poems -- sonnets all -- offer playful, reflective, and mocking meditations on (among other themes) the value of artistic practice. The vehicle for all of this is the tale of a sustained love affair with a cello, one of the orchestra's more imposing and easily anthropomorphized instruments. ... Clifford handles the form with humorous familiarity, nimbly picking his way through the gamut of sonnet stanza forms, in rhythms both jazzy and iambic.'