Girls and Handsome Dogs

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Februar 2002



One good swipe with the sword at the feet and the skeleton of the poem falls down laughing. That is Sibum' signature. To get an idea of how it looks on the ground, imagine taking an anthology of Victorian, pre-Raphaelite and Modernist poetry, tearing all the pages out, scattering them around on the floor in a central library in Baghdad, letting the looters walk over them for a few days, and then reassembling them -- or what's left of them. The resulting combination of randomness and order would approximate what can found between the covers of Sibum's bed.'


Norm Sibum has been writing and publishing poetry for over thirty years. Born in Oberammergau in 1947, he grew up in Germany, Alaska, Utah and Washington. He has published several volumes of poetry in Canada; two recent books, The November Propertius and In Laban's Field, were published by Carcanet Press, Manchester, England. His most recent collection, Girls and Handsome Dogs won the Quebec Writers' Federation A. M. Klein Prize. Sibum currently lives in Montreal.


'Norm Sibum has lived in Canada for over 30 years, and has published a dozen books of poems, yet is still little known. This, I suppose, is because he gives every indication of being a loner. He is a poet fascinated by incongruity and odd juxtapositions. He tends to pose as an inconspicuous observer commenting wryly on the strange people and events he sees around him in a dead-pan and highly allusive style. This style is erudite in reference, requiring readers not only to keep their wits about them but also to be imaginative enough to make connections between statements that often appear challenging and discontinuous. Girls and Handsome Dogs, attractively produced by the Porcupine's Quill, possesses the same quirky wit and insight that characterizes his earlier work. Prominent within it is a long poem, Aginthorpe on the Divan, that follows its main character through the drunken aftermath of a party in a series of poems that have the surreal vividness of a dream -- and may, in part, be presented as dream. In it we encounter a view of the contemporary world in all its bemusing combination of the absurd, the sublime, and the horrific. It is one of those puzzling if somewhat infuriating poems that do not give up their secrets easily but reveal enough to intrigue the mind and invite continued rereadings that prove more rewarding each time. Sibum, then, is his own man, and writes poetry that, for good or ill, is like no one else's. It can be as challenging as a cryptic crossword (one of his poems is actually about a crossword) and can become similarly addictive. An acquired taste, perhaps, but one that deserves to be both sampled and savored.' -- W J Keith Canadian Book Review Annual 'Sibum has a natural gift for meditative narrative, a quite powerful instinctive sense of appropriate form, and a wonderful and diverse eloquence in the old sense of that word.' -- Michael Schmidt, Director The Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University 'Girls and Handsome Dogs by Norm Sibum is an eccentric work. Halfway into it, I confess I felt like the lady in Sibum's poem "A Bash at Aginthorpe's" who is not shy to admit to her host: "I haven't the foggiest/As to what you could possibly be on about." Yet, preparing this review, I found myself copying out line after line, quotes that I coveted as guarantors of Sibum's talent.' -- Andrew Steinmetz Montreal Review of Books 'One of our most modern poets... There is no nostalgia about his classicism, no resignation in his satire.' Carcanet Press 'He creates a very original kind of dialectic between present and past, in which each illuminates and penetrates the other ... there is in his approach none of that bright post-modern cynicism that makes everything grist to the solipsistic mill of the present.' Poetry Nation 'A world is glimpsed from the corner of his eye, a multiplicity of voices is briefly overheard. From these Sibum has made a rough, durable fabric; he is a Browning for our times while at the same time having developed a voice that is completely his own.' -- Marius Kociejowski 'It is difficult to write poetry about God, alcohol, the disenfranchised, and spiritual identity without rewriting every post-modern poetic cliche offered up over the last fifty years. Poet Norm Sibum is up to the challenge, though, and in Girls and Handsome Dogs he spins interesting poems on the big subjects, rife with imaginative symbolism, quick wit and naked clarity of thought.' Quill & Quire 'Girls and Handsome Dogs is a return of sorts for Norm Sibum. He has never been widely read in Canada, and his two previous collections were published in England. A terse citation in Michael Schmidt's influential Lives of the Poets can be credited with starting a Sibum renaissance, for only two Canadian poets are so much as mentioned in that vast tome. Schmidt bruised a lot of egos with his cursory treatment of Canadian verse, but he also piqued the curiosity of more than a few readers. Sibum's neglect within Canada is a travesty, but an understandable one, for he writes verse that is urbane, stately, aristocratic, and decidedly unfashionable. Much of his work recalls early Eliot in its tone, its flexible yet regular sense of form, and its half-modern vision of the world. His previous collection, The November Propertius, is aptly titled, for there is something of the aging yet playful Roman about much of Sibum's verse.' -- Jack Illingworth
EAN: 9780889842304
ISBN: 0889842302
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Februar 2002
Seitenanzahl: 114 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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