Dancing, with Mirrors

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2011 - Poetry - 192 pages
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More than twenty years in the making, Dancing, With Mirrors is the result of George Amabile’s patient examination of his life. The light of careful attention, shining into his past, sends fragments of memory ricocheting into sensuous poems that arrange themselves, as if by magnetic attraction, into eleven remarkable cantos, each with a different focus, rhythm and texture. In this ‘lyrical retrospective’, decades are distilled into scattered moments: flashes of pain, sparks of affection, the smart of disappointment, small graces of the everyday.

Organized thematically into a roughly chronological narrative, these lyrical fragments make up George Amabile’s most intelligent and moving collection to date. Intense snapshots of life-defining moments, from his brother’s death to his relationship with a younger woman, are rendered with vivid immediacy, but also with a resonating aura that elicits questions which may never be answered by experience alone. These poems offer hard-won wisdom alongside a fierce commitment to life itself, capturing one man’s journey in exquisite imagery, an impressive variety of forms and a voice that is recognizably authentic in all its registers.

Since 1972 George Amabile has written seven collections of poetry and has been published in over one hundred magazines around the globe, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Saturday Night. Over the years George Amabile has come to be recognized as one of Canada’s most accomplished and masterful poets.


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This is an example of the self-indulgent frippery Modernism fell into when it no longer had a thing meaningful to say. Amabile has sucked up grants and, like Senator Duffy, has left taxpayers and others amazed at what they never got for their money.

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About the author (2011)

George Amabile has published his poetry, fiction and non-fiction in the USA, Canada, Europe, England, Wales, South America, Australia and New Zealand in over a hundred anthologies, magazines, journals and periodicals including The New Yorker, The New Yorker Book of Poems, Harper’s, Poetry (Chicago), American Poetry Review, Botteghe Oscure, The Globe and Mail, The Malahat Review, The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse, Saturday Night, Poetry Australia, Sur (Buenos Aires), Poetry Canada Review, Canadian Literature, and Margin (England).

He was Writer in Residence at University of British Columbia for 1969-70, co-founder and editor of The Far Point, founder and editor of Northern Light, has edited a dozen titles for Nuage Editions, Signature Editions, Penguin and has published eight books. The Presence of Fire (McClelland & Stewart, 1982), won the CAA National Prize for literature; his long poem, Durée, placed third in the CBC Literary Competition for 1991; ‘Popular Crime’ won first prize in the Sidney Booktown International Poetry Contest in February, 2000; ‘Road to the Sky’ received an honorable mention National Magazine Award for 2000, ‘What We Take with Us, Going Away’ was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Prize in 2003 and he is the subject of a special issue of Prairie Fire, (Vol. 21, No. 1, May 2000). From October 2000 to April 2001 he was Writer in Residence at the Winnipeg Public library.

‘Dimuendo’ was awarded third prize in the Petra Kenney International Poetry Competition for 2005 and ‘A Raft of Lilies’ won second place in the MAC national poetry contest, ‘Friends’ (2007). He has performed his poems on the CBC, at numerous venues in Canada and the USA, and at the Olympics in Montreal.

His most recent publications are Dancing, With Mirrors (Porcupine’s Quill, 2011), Tasting the Dark: New and Selected Poems (The Muses Company, an imprint of Gordon J. Shillingford Publishing, 2001), and Rumours of Paradise / Rumours of War (McClelland and Stewart, 1995).

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