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category: Poetry
published: Mar 2009
publisher: Brick Books

Love Outlandish

by Barry Dempster

tagged: canadian

A love affair chronicled -- from obsession to heartbreak, foolhardiness to faith.

In Love Outlandish, Barry Dempster undoes all the clichés that have barnacled our love lives and, with the zest and courage typical of his work, explores their torrents and eddies afresh. As in his previous books, Dempster responds to D.H. Lawrence's plea that we should discover and articulate what the heart really wants rather than some idealized version of it. Thoughtful, passionate, full of humour and self-aware wit, Love Outlandish delivers, again and again, the shock of recognition that permits us to laugh at, and with, the very emotions it probes. This is a book to relish for its energy and cherish for its wisdom.

My favourite is the one where his love
keeps trouncing distance
even after she's gone, making
harmonies out of death rattles.
It's the crack in his heart
where the melody lingers, the hiss
of an old 45. How can I help
but sing along, hard, hard song,
unconditional illusion.


-- from "Hard Song"

"...Barry Dempster trains his poetic gaze on the lonely marrow inside love, and blows it wide open."-- Jeanette Lynes

"Talk about luscious, limber language! The wonderful poems of Barry Dempster in Love Outlandish extend the possibilities of 'love lives' themselves -- what doesn't quite work out becomes, thanks to careful, original imagery and vibrant description, somehow as magnetic and translucent as what does..." -- Naomi Shihab Nye

About the Author

Barry Dempster was born in Scarborough, Ontario, and was educated in child psychology. He has worked at both the Children's Aid and the Queen Street Mental Health Centre in Toronto. For six years, he was poetry and reviews editor for the Poetry Canada Review. Currently, he works as an editor for Brick Books. He and his wife, Karen, live in Holland Landing, Ontario, where he runs a film series and two book groups. He has published eight collections of poetry, three works of fiction and one children's book.

Editorial Review

" ... This is no mere collection of sentimental valentines -- in these poems, love is ecstatic, brutal, angry, lustful, comical, nostalgic, grief-stricken -- and Dempster has brought all of his skills and experience and creative tenacity to bear on what ought to be a very popular book."--Paul Vermeersch, The Globe and Mail

"While layered with metaphors, the tone is colloquial, with a wry wit even in the depths of despair ... "--Mike Borkent, Canadian Literature

"When one reads Dempster's love lyrics, one sees the perfection of the lyric form ... these short bursts of chaotic feeling erupting, coalescing, and then receding, tracing the gamut of possibilities that love may run." --Marc Thackray, Journal of Canadian Poetry

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