No TV for Woodpeckers
By Gary Barwin
In the pages of Gary Barwin's latest collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers, the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. No stranger to poetic experimentation, Barwin employs a range of techniques ... Read more
In the pages of Gary Barwin's latest collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers, the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. No stranger to poetic experimentation, Barwin employs a range of techniques from the lyrical to the conceptual in order to explore loss, mortality, family, the self and our relationship to the natural world.
Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us?that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. He reveals how we construct both self and reality through these relationships and also considers the human in relation to the concepts of "nature" and "the animal. "
As philosophical as it is entertaining?weaving together threads of surrealism, ecopoetics, Dada and more?No TV for Woodpeckers is a complex and multi-layered work that offers an unexpected range of pleasures.
Gary Barwin is a poet, fiction writer, composer and performer. His music and writing have been performed and broadcast in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. His publications include poetry: Outside the Hat, Raising Eyebrows, Servants of Dust, anus porcupine eyebrow and frogments from the frag pool (with derek beaulieu) ; and fiction: Doctor Weepand other Strange Teeth, Big Red Baby and The Mud Game (a novel with Stuart Ross). Forthcoming books include The Obvious Flap (with Gregory Betts) and Kafka Franzlations: A Guide to the Imaginary Parables (with Hugh Thomas and Craig Conley). He was the co-winner of the 2009 bpNichol chapbook award for Inverting the Deer and was a recipient of the K. M. Hunter Foundation Artist award. He edits supernova tadpole editions for Paper Kite Press. Barwin is also the author of several books for kids, including Seeing Stars, which was nominated for a CLA YA Book of the Year and an Arthur Ellis Award. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife and three children.
"In its best pieces (including 'Grip,' 'In Memoriam,' the eerie 'Autopsy,' the intriguing 'Foot,' 'Gaspar' and a monologue called 'Alien Babies'), Barwin yokes his clowns to a serious chariot and arrives somewhere unique and utterly surprising. " - The Globe and Mail
"Barwin?s poems are struck through with a wide-eyed wonder, and when they aren?t revelling in the sound of language or crafting crazed imaginings, they work to dig out the strangeness of the everyday. " - Winnipeg Free Press
"Again and again, Barwin shows us how charlatans, business interests, and technology come together to create cultural texts and interfaces that jam, compromise and contaminate our abilities to forge meaningful relationships with one another. But by worrying 'the empty spot' left by Ronnie Claire Edwards' death in the same way the speaker imagines his tongue will continually return to probe the socket of his soon to be extracted tooth, something transformative takes place. What Barwin commemorates in 'The Waltons, My Tooth, and the Oral Torah,' what he elegizes, is the elegiac mode itself, and by demonstrating what language can do, he allows us to feel, if only briefly, less lost, less lonely, and less alone. " - Hamilton Review of Books