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Children of the Outer Dark

The Poetry of Christopher Dewdney

Christopher Dewdney; Karl E. Jirgens, editor

Laurier Poetry Series

Paper 82 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-515-4

Release Date: February 2007

Online discount: 25%

$18.99  $14.24


eBook availability

A four-time Governor General’s-award nominee for both poetry and non-fiction, Christopher Dewdney is celebrated internationally as a writer and a visionary and is best known for his particular imagining of place and memory. Beginning with Paleozoic fossil formations in southwestern Ontario and moving through eons of natural history to cityscapes and the digital present, Dewdney’s poetics encapsulate often surreal experiences from radical and epiphenomenal perspectives. His writing vibrates in a standing wave between science and art, reason and myth—embedding geology, neurophysiology, linguistics, and post-digital technology within a play of transitory viewpoints. Children of the Outer Dark provides a geological survey of Dewdney’s poetic strata. The poems selected, along with their order of presentation, serve a critical function to mine diverse layers of development in Dewdney’s career. This collection will reward all those who seek inspiration and will provide teachers, students, and other writers with a short natural history of one of Canadas essential poetic minds.

Christopher Dewdney has served as writer-in-residence at Trent, Western, and York universities. Featured in Ron Mann’s film Poetry in Motion with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Ondaatje, and Tom Waits, Dewdney has presented his groundbreaking poetics across North America and Europe. He also creates acoustic and visual art, along with incisive arts commentary for print.

Karl E. Jirgens, head of the Department of English at the University of Windsor, has taught at the universities of Toronto, York, Guelph, and Laurentian. Since 1979, he has served as editor-in-chief of Rampike, a critically acclaimed international journal of art and writing. Jirgens’s fiction, performance works, poetry, and scholarly articles are published worldwide.


“The texts ... challenge the anthology by collecting larger, more representative samples of the poet’s oeuvre and by pairing creative work with an essay by a contemporary critic and an aesthetic statement by the poet. This innovative format certainly succeeds in making the text more accessible and comprehensive. The result is a timely reminder that poetry is, in fact, enjoyable and might just be able to, as Dewdney writes, “perforate everything around the shape of the real.”... [A]s a university instructor, I would use this text and applaud Besner’s attempts to remedy contemporary poetry’s lack of popularity. Children of the Outer Dark will, as Besner intended, appeal to a large and varied readership.”

— Emily Carr, ARC Poetry Magazine

“The quest for a wider audience for poetry may be quixotic, but this series makes a serious attempt to present attractive, affordable selections that speak to contemporary interests and topics that might engage a younger generation of readers. Yet it does not condescend, preferring to provide substantial and sophisticated poets to these new readers. At the very least, these slim volumes will make very useful introductory teaching texts in post-secondary classrooms because they whet the appetite without overwhelming.”

— Paul Milton, Canadian Literature

“The poems in the collection, drawn representatively from the spectrum of Dewdney’s career, ‘merge into/the details of the world’ (‘Seven Electrical Angels’) in a consistently surprising and thoughtful manner. The resulting selection is a fascinating archive of the way in which those details have merged differenly over time—havin subtly remodeled Dewdney’s poetics like a language remoder the brain.... [Editor] Karl E. Jirgens’...observations are suggestive and the accompanying bibliography of critical sources constitutes an important contribution to the study of Dewdney’s work.”

— Adam Dickinson, Canadian Literature