Killdeer: essay poems by Phil Hall

Killdeer: essay poems by Phil Hall

Winner of the 2011 Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry

Winner of the 2012 Trillium Book Award

3rd Place winner of the 2012 Alcuin Society Award for Excellence in Book Design in Canada for Poetry, awarded to Mark Goldstein

Finalist for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize

These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes—essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue. Hall is a surruralist (rural & surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to—Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, among others. He writes of the embarrassing process of becoming a poet, and of his push-pull relationship with the whole concept of home. His notorious 2004 chapbook essay The Bad Sequence is also included here, for a wider readership, at last. It has been revised. (Its teeth have been sharpened.)

In this book, the line is the unit of composition; the reading is wide; the perspective personal: each take a give, and logic a drawback.

Language is not a smart-aleck; it’s a sacred tinkerer. Readers are invited to watch awe become a we.

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Killdeer is… a meditation on the poetic process that stimulates both the intellect and the imagination.” —The Toronto Star

“Hall manages to rescue the lyrical essay from its recondite excesses and turn it into something that’s as adventurous as it is readable. Hall has called himself a ‘surruralist,’ and this book charts his development as a writer, but it also demonstrates and furthers that development.” —The Globe and Mail

“Hall is aware that he’s aligned with an aesthetic of past decades that may not be fashionable, but he seems determined to keep its spirit alive by understanding what it tells us about our aesthetic today. To him I would give an award for unabashedly keeping an authentic Canadian poetic voice alive.” —The Montreal Gazette

“A wonderfully provocative experience…” —The Bull Calf

“Encompassing the best of what folk art is meant to be, self-taught and working-class, as [Hall] carves poems from a collage of phrases, lines and stanzas, while still managing to produce a highly-crafted ‘high’ art.” —rob mclennan’s blog

“These pieces are written with such honesty and empathy that it is impossible to read them and not tremble.” —Arc Poetry Magazine

Jury Citations:

“A sure, wondrous, profound pilgrimage of a book.” —Trillium Book Awards Jury Comment

“Killdeer by Phil Hall realizes a masterly modulation of the elegiac through poetic time. It releases the personal from the often binding axis of the egoistic into that kind of humility that only a profound love of language—and of living—can achieve.” —Governor General’s Literary Awards Judges’ Citation

Killdeer is a testament to the creative life as an act of faith and transformation.” —The Griffin Prize Judges’ Citation


A Profile of Phil Hall –The National Post

Phil Hall’s first small book, Eighteen Poems, was published by Cyanamid, the Canadian mining company, in Mexico City, in 1973. Among his many titles are: Old Enemy Juice (1988), The Unsaid (1992), and Hearthedral – A Folk-Hermetic (1996). In the early 80s, Phil was a member of the Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union, & also a member of the Vancouver Men Against Rape Collective. He has taught writing at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College, and elsewhere. He has been poet-in-residence at Sage Hill Writing Experience (Sask.), The Pierre Berton House (Dawson City, Yukon), & elsewhere. In 2007, BookThug published Phil’s long poem, White Porcupine. Also in 2007, he and his wife, Ann, walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and lives near Perth, Ontario. Recent books include An Oak Hunch and The Little Seamstress. The Governor General’s Award jury called Killdeer “a masterly modulation of the elegiac through poetic time.”

April 2011 | Poetry
6×8 inches | 112 pages
Condition: New
ISBN 9781897388815
ePub ISBN 9781927040294

Additional information

Weight .15 kg
Dimensions 6 × .5 × 8 in

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