Hot Poppies

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2005 - Humor - 91 pages
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`Everything from her mouth / I wrote down in a blue book.'

So begins Hot Poppies, a collection of poems by Leon Rooke, that grand master of the vocal jag and lyrical roar. Those who know Rooke's fiction -- the Governor General's award-winning novel Shakespeare's Dog, for example -- will expect his first published poems to be rife with surreal flourishes, blazing language, sex, death, dogs and justice. All of these things are to be found in this blue book. So are Jasper Johns, (Lord) B, Princess Di, Lassie, Mahalia Jackson and John Cage.

Hot Poppies is a riotous, extravagant book, fresh from the hot-house, but it is also seductive and subversive. Five-line love lyrics, full of epigrammatic spark, intersperse vitriolic satires on American electoral antics. Britney Spears goes to war with the squirrels, `hefty as flying raccoons,' and James Tate's condemned man talks hurricanes and death row dinners with his warden. Rooke writes poetry with the glitter-seeking eye of a magpie, discovering unsettling beauties in his hoard of cultural detritus and post-millennial dread.

 

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Contents

Everything from Her Mouth
11
Easter
25
This Man Cortazar 3 8
38
May a Sister Approach the Bench
49
Biblical Tale
62
My Bride
75
And Nothing But
89
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About the author (2005)

Leon Rooke was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina in 1934. He attended Mars Hill College and the University of North Carolina. In addition to writing novels and short stories, he is also an anthologist and a playwright. He is the recipient of many awards and honours including the Governor General's Fiction Award for "Shakespeare's Dog", the Canada-Australia Prize, the Paperback Novel of the Year Award for "Fat Woman", The Pushcart Prize and the North Carolina Award for Literature. He is the founder and artistic director of Eden Mills Writers' Festival. Rooke currently resides in Winnipeg.

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