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By Word of Mouth

The Poetry of Dennis Cooley

By Dennis Cooley
Edited by Nicole Markotic
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9781554580071, 84 pages, June 2007
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587407, 84 pages, October 2009
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554581108, 84 pages, June 2007

Table of contents

Table of Contents for By Word of Mouth: The Poetry of Dennis Cooley, selected with an introduction by Nicole Markotić
Foreword | Neil Besner
Biographical Note
Introduction: By Word of Mouth: An Introduction to Dennis Cooley’s Poetry | Nicole Markotić
A Poem for You, Leaving Winnipeg
“& we are skinbags of heated water    dreaming”
in his tangerine skin
the love song of j l krafchenko or the trans canada in (trance crypt
Sonya Orlowsky
Paul sd
I think “ego”; ergo I am
anatomy of love
prairie romance
behind the door
moon musings
holy cow
inner ear
my eye
melodious rhyme
he replies to his critics
“In Germany cooley is a migrant labourer”
“Wished we had the camera for David”
winnipeg in winter
a series of shocking pre-positions
“mother tongue”
“this on remembrance weekend”
“bodies are”
jack’s dictionary of cunning linguists
blood brothers
red men ace
the red /emption of blood
“& not that he’s wrong”
“& a crate of apples could i suppose”
“& listening to night sticky with sweat”
after words | Dennis Cooley
Selected Cooley Poems: Sources


Dennis Cooley, one of Canada’s most prominent poets, says writing becomes political when you play with certain kinds of voices. His poetry has been influenced and inspired by the prairies and other Canadian poets, but he insists on disturbing the formal poetic inheritance he esteems. His engagement with a variety of speaking voices asks that readers question authority and challenge institutional privilege. In By Word of Mouth, a collection from across his career, readers will discover how Cooley returns to the prairie vernacular and speaks to Canadian identity. Poetry, says Cooley, is about our time and our place.
Nicole Markotić’s introductory essay discusses how Dennis Cooley plays with poetic reference, inspires with syntactical surprises, parodies contemporary writing, and indulges in wild, celebratory puns. This book roams around Dennis Cooley’s poetical world and invites the reader to play along.


By Word of Mouth and the Laurier Poetry series are a welcome and important contribution to widening the reach and availability of Canadian poetry.

- Jennifer Dales, ARC Poetry Magazine, 60, Summer 2008, 2008 August

Nicole Markotić, the editor, has done an excellent job of selecting a broad-based representation of Cooley's work. Her introduction is invaluable for understanding Cooley's poetics and for guiding readers through the minefield of Cooleydom. Without it, the uninitiated reader would be lost.

- John Cunningham, Prairie Fire, October 2007, 2007 October