The poems in Skullduggery, Asa Boxer’s masterful new book, have a simple warning: trust nothing. Like the book’s hilarious final poem, which recasts Canada’s discovery as a hoax from the Middle Ages-Boxer transforms shortfalls of perception into tour de force performances. Drawing on a deepened range of forms [comic set-pieces, verse-plays, dramatic monologues] Skullduggery embraces deception as both theme and tactic. In poem after poem, encounters test the threshold of what’s real and what’s not; turns of phrase appear to say one thing, but really mean another. What is without doubt, however, is that Boxer strengthens his status as one of our most gifted young poets.
An old idea of reality animates the poems in The Mechanical Bird: things are never what they seem. Opening with a quick-talking disquisition on lying [“Keep it simple, tidy, / take a noncommittal stance”] and ending with masterly mediation on the workshop and its “drawing-board dreams,” Asa Boxer’s debut constantly tests the claims of authenticity over artifice. Objects, settings and everyday details are swept up in an imagination that can never quite shake the sense of the visible world-even nature itself-as an artful mixture of fact and invention. As suggested by the eponymous metal songster, these poems are exquisitely crafted, infused with a sense of kinetic spell-making, and sing with an exuberant trust in their own guile.
PRAGER, Jerry—“ECHOES IN THE TIMBERS”
This prose poem, told in three voices, focuses on an inquest into the death of Margaret Buckingham, an escaped American slave found frozen by a picket fence in Puslinch, 1854.
The characters speaking in the seven monologues of the poem are Margaret Buckingham, Jerry Collins, and Nicholas Beaver—the Quaker Abolitionist who had built himself a log house on Brock Road, south of Aberfoyle, back in 1832 and later sheltered refugees, such as Margaret. This house, in whose timbers the events of the narrative now echo, was the very setting of Jerry’s first performance of his poem in September 2014. Having been moved to Pilkington Township in the 1980s, Beaver House is now home to the Elora Poetry Centre.
“Echoes in the Timbers” was read by Jerry at the Centre on two occasions, the first performance preceded by music from the Canadian Underground Railroad performed by Muddy York.
The 21-page poem is being printed on high quality paper, with stiff paper covers, and hand-stitched in the style of an old chap-book, accompanied by a booklet of copious endnotes. The two parts will be enclosed in a stiff card sleeve to make a presentation gift.
Limited to 50 copies. Numbered and signed by the author. $49.00 (postage extra)
(pre-orders to receive 10% discount)
Due to be published May 2016
Corman, Cid. OF (three volumes) $450.00 CAN (plus shipping)
Vol. 1 & 2, Item Description: Lapis Press, Venice, CA, 1990. Vol. 1, 756 pp. & vol. 2, 748 pp. First edition. The first two volumes were printed in California at Lapis Press, and the third in Kyoto, Japan, at the Origin Press. Part of a yet unpublished 5 volume set. All three volumes contain 750 poems each. Thick 8vos, stiff white wrappers with front and back cover design in black by the late Sam Francis; cloth spines; sturdy black cloth slipcase. Vol. 1 is inscribed by Corman to a friend.
Vol. 3, Item Description: Origin Press, 1998, 790 pp. plus index. First edition. Limited to less than 200 copies; soft cloth bound sewn wraps. Like vols. 1 & 2, held in a sturdy cloth-covered slipcase. New. It matches the first two volumes as issued from Lapis Press (1990), including cover art by Sam Francis. Composition in Baskerville and printed in Kyoto, Japan. Thick 8vos, stiff white wrappers with design by Sam Francis; black cloth spine; stiff black cloth slipcase.