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White Porcupine by Phil Hall


White Porcupine by Phil Hall


older than my heroes got
sold a whittled role for touch
fold within green fold my doubt
not suicidal / not joyous much
bought in to finagle my own way out (oot)
ovoid rampage / muzzled hoot

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?

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SKU: 3025 Categories: , ,


Phil Hall was born in 1953 and raised on farms in the Kawarthas region of Ontario. His first book, Eighteen Poems, was published in Mexico City in 1973. Since then he has published 11 other books of poems, five chapbooks, and a cassette of labour songs. Among his titles are: Homes (1979), Old Enemy Juice (1988), The Unsaid (1992), Hearthedral: A Folk-Hermetic (1996), and Trouble Sleeping (2000), which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for poetry. His latest collection, An Oak Hunch, was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2006. Over the years, he has collected two full decks of random playing cards from the streets, as well as numerous albums of found photographs. He is learning to play clawhammer banjo.

76 pages; 9×7 inches; paperback
Condition: New
ISBN 9781897388105
September 2007

Additional information

Weight .2 kg
Dimensions 9 × 7 × .5 in