Afloat, John Reibetanz's eighth collection of poetry, focuses on water in many manifestations. The centerpiece, a sequence on the Three Gorges Dam and its cultural and environmental implications, brings ancient Chinese sources (Meng Chiao and the painter Dong Yuan) together with modern ones (Edward Burtynsky's photographs and violent video games) to create an elegy that is moving and meditative.
Although water is everywhere present as a subject, it is song that provides the motivating power, the vehicle of longing that animates the book. "We thirst for song"Ñthe closing words of the Lament for the Gorges sequenceÑcould really serve as the book's epigraph. This is poetry exercising its full range of possible functions (to observe, to enquire, to elegize, to imagine, to think, to commemorate, to yearn and to feel), all in the service of that "thirst for song. "
John Reibetanz is the author of eleven previous collections of poetry, and his poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry (Chicago), The Paris Review, The Walrus, and Canadian Literature. A finalist for the National Magazine Awards, the National Poetry Competition, and the ReLit Award, John has given readings in major cities all across Canada. He was elected a Senior Fellow of Massey College in 2010. The Essential John Reibetanz, edited by Jeffery Donaldson, was published by The Porcupine's Quill in 2017. He lives in Toronto.
"The cosmopolitan, lyrical meditations in Afloat, John Reibetanz's eighth collection, are reminders that humankind also has a capacity for beauty" -- Barbara Carey, Toronto Star
"[A] feast for all who love transfigurative, transformative poetry. " -- George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
"These poems . .. gesture toward exceeding their bounds, to discovery not as colonization but as encounter . .. Afloat aims to renew and to revitalize poetic resonance. " -- Kevin McNeilly, EVENT
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