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Love Outlandish Published March 2009
Wed Aug 19, 2009

"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

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

"If Dempster's aim was to reinvent the love poem, I'd say he set himself an impossible task, but he has written a good deal of excellent poetry on that much beloved subject, and this no mere collection of sentimental valentines - in these poems, love is ecstatic, brutal, angry, lustful, comical, nostalgic, grief-stricken - and Dempster has brought all his skills and experience and creative tenacity to bear on what ought to be a very popular book."

Paul Vermeersch, The Globe and Mail March 2009

 


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