White Porcupine

By (author): Phil Hall

Two porcupines walk into a bar. No, wait. One porcupine walks into a bar. Well, actually, it’s a poet. And he walks into a library. He opens books and shakes them until they look like porcupines dancing. He is looking for old photos to eat. He likes the salt taste of the chemicals. Chewing, he crawls oot. Toying with the confessional, Phil Hall’s White Porcupine is a self-portrait of the artist from ages fifty to fifty-four. The creature of the title suggests (as in White Buffalo, White Whale, White Moose) the sacred primitive wild…though small…(a bit like poems); also, Death Itself (bugga-bugga); and snow rushing at the window of a moving car, years ago…tire-chains…fins; and greying hair, stubble chin; and honestly who doesn’t bristle about getting old? and young St Sebastian, that doofus…naked, glowing, multi-skewered; and a black and white group photo outside a one room school house in winter…(there’s mom!) each student a quill, with its name underneath. The punchline: White Porcupine is a long border-line-incomprehensible confessional poem about being miserable (oh boy!). Well, really it’s about being a poet (even better!). Or, is it?


Phil Hall

Phil Hall is a writer, editor, and teacher. His first book, Eighteen Poems, was published in 1973. Among his many published titles are: Old Enemy Juice (1988); The Unsaid (1992); Hearthedral–A Folk-Hermetic (1996); An Oak Hunch (2005); White Porcupine (Book*hug, 2007); Killdeer (Book*hug, 2011; winner of the 75th Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and the Trillium Book Prize, and shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize); Small Nouns Crying Faith (Book*hug, 2013); Guthrie Clothing: The Poetry of Phil Hall, a Selected Collage (2015); and My Banjo and Tiny Drawings (2015). Hall has taught writing at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College, and elsewhere. Phil lives with his wife near Perth, Ontario.


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80 Pages
9.10in * 7.10in * .20in


September 15, 2007


Book*hug Press



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

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