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Chamber Music

The Poetry of Jan Zwicky

By Jan Zwicky
Edited by Darren Bifford & Warren Heiti
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9781771120913, 102 pages, December 2014
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771121088, 102 pages, January 2015
Ebook (PDF) : 9781771120920, 102 pages, January 2015

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Chamber Music: The Poetry of Jan Zwicky, selected with an introduction by Darren Bifford and Warren Heiti
Foreword, Neil Besner
Biographical Note
Practising Bach
Language Is Hands
from Leaving Home
from Seven Elegies: Robert William Zwicky (1927-1987)
The Horse Pull
Your Body
K. 219, Adagio
The Geology of Norway
Brahms' Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115
Cashion Bridge
Bill Evans: "Here's That Rainy Day"
Beethoven: Op. 95
Driving Northwest
One Version
Robinson's Crossing
Another Version
Glenn Gould: Bach's "Italian" Concerto, BWV 971
Small song in praise of ears
Small song for the voice of the nuthatch
Small song: Prairie
Small song to oneself
Small song:Mozart
Small song: Laundry
from Music and Silence: Seven Variations
Late Schubert
Practising Bach
If There Were Two Rivers
From Distant Lands
The Art of Fugue
Schumann: Fantasie, Op. 17
Autumn Again
An Abridgement of a Conversation with Jan Zwicky


Arcing across thirty years and seven volumes, Jan Zwicky’s poetry has always been acutely musical (and sensitive to the silence out of which music comes). In the compositions in Chamber Music, the first anthology of Zwicky’s poems, one may perceive the attunement of her vocations: poet, philosopher, violinist. Her poetry both praises and relinquishes the earth, bearing witness to the fierce skies of the prairies and the freezing rain of the West Coast. Enacting the virtue of clarity prized and defended by her explicitly philosophical work, this poetry is both resonant and integrated. It is also formally diverse, ranging from the singular focus of the lyric ode to suites of variations and fugal structures, from polyphonic textures to the sprawling reach of narrative gestures. Throughout, one feels the deft hand of an adept using powerful metaphors to explore themes of colonial violence, environmental devastation, spiritual catastrophe, and transformation. Resisting Western philosophy’s exclusion of imagination from civic life, Zwicky’s poetry is noteworthy for the tension it achieves between the abstract and the personal, the general and the particular. Meditating repeatedly on themes of love and grief, this poetry is at once passionately committed to the lucidity of its utterances and the fidelity of its images.