How to Hold a Pebble
How to Hold a Pebble—Jaspreet Singh’s second collection of poems—locates humans in the Anthropocene, while also warning against the danger of a single story. These pages present intimate engagements with memory, place, language, migration; with enchantment, uncanniness, ... Read more
How to Hold a Pebble—Jaspreet Singh’s second collection of poems—locates humans in the Anthropocene, while also warning against the danger of a single story. These pages present intimate engagements with memory, place, language, migration; with enchantment, uncanniness, uneven climate change and everyday decolonization; with entangled human/non-human relationships and deep anxieties about essential/non-essential economic activities. The poems explore strategies for survival and action by way of a playful return to the quotidian and its manifold interactions with the global and planetary. Of loss no scale remains no seawall… Between one’s despairs / they will brighten / Hope’s in-built traces.
Jaspreet Singh's non-fiction has appeared in Granta, Brick: A Literary Journal, and the New York Times. He is the author of two novels, Chef (Véhicule Press, 2008; Bloomsbury, 2010) and Helium (Bloomsbury, 2014); a story collection, Seventeen Tomatoes (Vehicule Press, 2004); and a poetry collection, November (Bayeux Arts, 2017). His work has been published internationally and has been translated into several languages. He lives in Calgary.
“How to Hold a Pebble is a work of remarkable intellect. With empathy and playfulness, with startle and delight, Jaspreet Singh explores the fragility, beauty, and sorrow of the dreaming and waking worlds. These poems will continue to toll inside you. At times, they will turn you inside out. ”
—Donna Kane, author of
Orrery finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award
“As Rilke’s archaic torso was to Modernism, so is Jaspreet Singh’s pebble to our late-Anthropocene literary moment. Instead of beholding the high, White ideal of ‘pure’ stone, we must hold the earthy, water-worn pebble. It may or may not be too late to change our lives; still, we must take the pebble in hand, steward what remains of the multifarious planet Singh both mourns and celebrates. The poems keen and dance—and amazingly, offer comfort. Humor resides here, in the polyphonic play within and among languages, as well as vital guidance: ‘It [is]/impossible/to go back/the same way/we . . . entered’; ‘Keep creating disorder, live, do not simply versify the rhetoric of empire. ’”
– Natania Rosenfeld, author of Wild Domestic and The Blue Bed
"Jaspreet Singh distills, reveals and honors our complex relationship with the planet, from habitation to occupation, from the exquisite to the aching. His poems are mercurial and revelatory, and are always things of deep beauty. Singh delivers the moments big and small that tell of life itself, and of going forwards in our times. "
—Anne Kennedy, author of The Sea Walks into a Wall and he Darling North
“For those paying attention, Singh demonstrates the monumental task of mindfulness. He enacts the quiet appreciation of a pebble while facing up to the tragedies we have made of the world. Through lenses of science, art, and history, he stares down colonialism’s aftermath, environmental breakdown, and the collapse of intimacy. Despite often wishing to forget, this thoughtful poet holds to the necessity of being “a believer / in the task of witnessing. ” Like him, we must resist the urge to blink. ”
—John Barton, author of We Are Not Avatars and Lost Family