Word Problems

By (author): Ian Williams

From Ian Williams, author of Reproduction, winner of the Giller Prize and a June 2020 Indie Next Great Read

Frustrated by how tough the issues of our time are to solve – racial inequality, our pernicious depression, the troubled relationships we have with other people – Ian Williams revisits the seemingly simple questions of grade school for inspiration: if Billy has five nickels and Jane has three dimes, how many Black men will be murdered by police? He finds no satisfaction, realizing that maybe there are no easy answers to ineffable questions.

Williams uses his characteristic inventiveness to find not just new answers but new questions, reconsidering what poetry can be, using math and grammar lessons to shape poems that invite us to participate. Two long poems cut through the text like vibrating bass notes, curiosities circle endlessly, and microaggressions spin into lyric. And all done with a light touch and a joyful sense of humour.

AUTHOR

Ian Williams

Ian Williams is the author of Reproduction, winner of the Giller Prize; Personals, shortlisted for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the 2011 Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are, a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry.

Reviews

“Going in circles is structural … in Ian Williams’s Word Problems, a challenge in this case not of nature but of white supremacist culture and its enforcement. Event Magazine

“His word play is always in the service of a deadly seriousness, and recognizing the issues is critical to an improvement in relations among human beings.” The Ormsby Review


Awards

  • Raymond Souster Award 2021, Winner
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    Details

    Dimensions:

    96 Pages
    8.0in * 5.5in * 0.25in
    0.35lb

    Published:

    October 06, 2020

    Publisher:

    Coach House Books

    ISBN:

    9781552454145

    Book Subjects:

    POETRY / Canadian

    Language:

    eng

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