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category: Poetry
published: Sep 2018
publisher: New Star Books


and other poems like Bird, Nine, x, and Eleven

by Michael Turner

tagged: canadian

‘A small room behind a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.’

How you view 21st century life depends largely on the view from your place, which depends on where you can afford to live. In this suite of texts and poems written over twenty years that span the infamous towers, Michael Turner drops in to see what condition he's in, a subject whipped into insistence by the rhythms that shape his city, his neighbourhood, his universe.

What arises out of the debris of these towers is a vision of contemporary history that sees them — their creation and destruction — existing within a web of capital relations that leave no landlord or office worker unturned.

In her Globe and Mail review of Turner's “startlingly straightforward and minimalist” 8x10 (New Star, 2009), Zoe Whitall concludes: “8x10 is an unsettling and daring work, a tangible symbol of our anxious world and the stark emotional devastation of war. I hope Turner starts a trend in Canadian literature, because Canada needs more writers like him.”

"Reading Michael Turner's extraordinary 9x11 I was reminded of Christa Wolf's Accident, how global crisis intensifies the daily — except that in Turner's/our current state disruption has become the new norm. Disruption both terrifies and excites the poet — the stacked monotony of skyscrapers is broken both by the horror of people leaping out of buildings and by Mallarme's thrilling abandonment of vertical structure in "Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard" (1897). All the reflections and contemplative rhymes add up to a holographic text that begs repeated reading. "9 x 11" is a date, a disaster, and the measurements of the poet's room. For Turner architecture is a form of poetic divination, and poetry is a form of architecture. Living in a city, community is inevitable — coffee house / apartment building / poetry peers — and despite his caution, Turner's tense heart proves very big."

— Dodie Bellamy

About the Author

Michael Turner's first book, Company Town, was nominated for the 1992 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. His second book, the novel Hard Core Logo, was made into an acclaimed feature film, for which Michael received a Genie Award for his contribution to the movie's soundtrack. His screenplay-cum-novel, American Whiskey Bar, was produced as a live television special on CityTV in 1998. In 2000 he received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for The Pornographer's Poem. His latest work of fiction, 8x10, was published in the fall of 2009 by Doubleday Canada. Turner lives in Vancouver.

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