By Dean Steadman
A man who might be Erik Satie floats, a la Magritte, above Paris rooftops, thinking of a newly-extinct species of songbirds, "contemplating grief in the absence of song. " By turns tender, wry, playful and fierce, the poems in Dean Steadman’s second collection, Apres Satie ... Read more
A man who might be Erik Satie floats, a la Magritte, above Paris rooftops, thinking of a newly-extinct species of songbirds, "contemplating grief in the absence of song. " By turns tender, wry, playful and fierce, the poems in Dean Steadman’s second collection, Apres Satie -- For Two and Four Hands, use surreal imagery, recurring characters and cyclical themes to evoke the repetitive nature of much of Satie’s music, as well as the artistic and intellectual temperament of Paris during Satie's most creative years. The prose poems in the collection borrow titles from Satie's piano compositions, and all of the poems are annotated in a manner similar to Satie's published scores, using a selection of his performance instructions (for example, "like a nightingale with a toothache"). From the affair of Satie and painter Suzanne Valadon to the glimpsed lives of a contortionist, a French cowboy, a Falling Man, and a Floating Woman in the Dada-inflected prose poems, to the musings in other poetic forms that draw us forward in time, to a present-day hospice, or back, to the gallop of a mounted huntress, Apres Satie involves us in the ongoing muddle of pain, sorrow, compassion, passion, joy and curiousness that is our human condition.
Dean Steadman's work has been widely published in Canadian journals and e-zines, as well as in the anthology Pith and Wry: Canadian Poetry (Scrivener Press, 2010). He is the author of two chapbooks: Portrait w/tulips (Leaf Editions, 2013), and Worm’s Saving Day (AngelHousePress, 2015). He was a finalist in the 2011 Ottawa Book Awards for his poetry collection, their blue drowning (Frog Hollow Press, 2010). Though he was born in Montreal and studied in Halifax, he has lived in Ottawa for most of his life.
"When he died, Erik Satie left twelve grey suits hanging in his closet. With surreal virtuosity Dean Steadman has pulled eighty-four sinuous poems and prose riffs out of their velvet pockets. ”
— William Aide