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  • Orphic Politics
  • Written by Tim Lilburn
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780771046360
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  • Orphic Politics
  • Written by Tim Lilburn
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781551991979
  • Our Price: $11.99
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Written by Tim LilburnAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Tim Lilburn


List Price: $11.99


On Sale: February 24, 2009
Pages: 0 | ISBN: 978-1-55199-197-9
Published by : McClelland & Stewart McClelland & Stewart
Orphic Politics Cover

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A new collection by the winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry.

Tim Lilburn’s award-winning work has observed the natural world with an intensity of seeing and a reverence that shifts the way we understand our lives. Now, in his brilliant new collection of poems, Lilburn has turned his meticulous, unerring eye to an intimate, utterly compelling exploration of the body’s fall into illness. These haunting poems take the reader below the surface of things into a peculiar world of personal and social alteration. Its incantatory insistence and its shocking imagistic leaps make the poetry a sustained act of therapy, a ritual instrument for change.



Someone wearing a vest of radon implants
coaxed my tongue to be sweetly laid out in a kurgan of rain.
This is the rain’s nest, he said, where you will be joined
by the skin of a galloping horse held up by sticks.
Just then God’s mouth filled with lead.
People at that time started, it seemed, to bleed
in the streets from their ears.
This wasn’t force of listening, they
just were scraped by some large thing moving past,
sleet of arrows, yielding shelf of stones.
I stared at them, peak, peak, peak. The quills in their hands
and feet slicked into me, over
the border into me like I was being shot up, quietly and in secret
by drum solos.
Let us dip the tip of horror in horror.
Randy went down, Albert rappelled under the waves.
Something, all we’d never said, was eating
up from below.
St. Teresa of Avila was sitting in a gold chair
in a breathing-through-a-straw house in a suburb
quite far out, where what she’s saying — it eggs slowly from
her mouth — is taken up in spikes along the back legs of the hum
from swelling, overhead wires.
Tim Lilburn|Author Desktop

About Tim Lilburn

Tim Lilburn - Orphic Politics

TIM LILBURN is the author of seven previous books of poetry, including To the River, Kill-site, and Orphic Politics. His work has received the Governor General's Award and the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, among other prizes. Lilburn is also the author of two essay collections, Living in the World as if It Were Home and Going Home, and edited two other collections on poetics. He teaches at the University of Victoria.

Author Q&A

I wrote the poems in Orphic Politics between 2003 and 2007. This was a difficult time for me. I got quite ill, was hospitalized, and had a number of surgeries. I also developed an auto-immune condition that made walking difficult. I had never been sick like this before, never lived in the country of the ill, and my health problems went on for a couple of years. The poems respond to all of this. After a while, being sick felt like an orphic immurement. I began to think of other diseases in me that might be in need of healing, noological disorders — a loneliness for things, for example, the residue of colonialism. How to transform these? I subjected myself to the theurgic art of poetry.
-- Tim Lilburn



“Striking and original. . . . [Lilburn captures] the mystical and ecstatic moments when self and world are united.” — Booklist

“At its best, this is avant-garde lyricism the haunting utterances of which would make Rilke shiver, and so should be welcomed.”
- Globe and Mail

  • Orphic Politics by Tim Lilburn
  • March 18, 2008
  • Poetry - Canadian; Poetry
  • McClelland & Stewart
  • $14.95
  • 9780771046360

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