Winner of the 2016 Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award
In this collection Jeanette Lynes' follows in the tradition of Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. In Bedlam Cowslip, she turns her attention to the life and work of John Clare, the great Victorian poet of the countryside, one of England's greatest working-class bards. In these poems, the Romantic world of Clare, strewn with wild flowers and dizzy with birdsong, is visited by a new, postmodern voice, and the conversation that ensues across a dozen decades is profound and dazzling.
Painstakingly researched and deftly crafted, the poems share Clare's loves, ambitions, rages and failures. With lines that echo the sharpness of Dorothy Livesay and the richness of Roo Borson, Lynes writes of madness, scarce paper and of the intense attention Clare brought to his world. In this book Lynes has created an uplifting poetic biography on a bright poetic star that has been rising for over a century.
Jeanette Lynes grew up in rural southwestern Ontario. She has lived in Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver and Thunder Bay, among other places. Her poetry collection, A Woman Alone on the Atitkokan Highway was published by Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd. In 1999. She received the Bliss Carmam Poetry Award in 2001, and her poems are frequently broadcast on CBC Radio. Jeanette is currently a Professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
"A real rapacious romp through the fields of blooms and language. The reader instantly draws closer to Clare and his era through Lynes? wicked ability to empathize with the thoughts, motions, aches and losses of this singular poet. " - Marrow Reviews
"By contemporizing Clare?s language with dazzling wit, Lynes generously transfers her brilliance to her subject. " - Arc Poetry Magazine
"Cloaking herself in the linguistic and political passions of a nineteenth-century peasant-poet boy wonder, Lynes succeeds in reanimating a remarkable, singular voice that might otherwise be hard for many contemporary ears to truly hear, while at the same time inflecting it with her own accent: that of a woman writing in the post-colonial twenty-first century, many generations after the societal changes and tensions that affected Clare, but in a time when his own concerns ring ominously clear. " - Fiddlehead
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