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Children of the Outer Dark

The Poetry of Christopher Dewdney

By Christopher Dewdney
Edited by Karl E. Jirgens
Subjects Literary Criticism, Canadian Literature, Poetry
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889205154, 82 pages, February 2007
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587155, 82 pages, October 2009
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554581023, 82 pages, February 2007

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Children of the Outer Dark: The Poetry of Christopher Dewdney, selected with an introduction by Karl E. Jirgens
Foreword | Neil Besner
Biographical Note
Introduction | Karl E. Jirgens
The Owl
Sol du Soleil
In the Critical Half-Light
In a Manner of Fact
Into the Maelstrom
That Night at Lake Huron
On Attaining Remote Control
This Is of Two Worlds
Poem Using Lines Spoken by Suzanne
Dreadlocks at the Helm
Human Consciousness
The Immaculate Perception
Metaphor Templates
Homonyms as Linguistic Necker Cubes
Depth Sounding, Lake Windermere
The Owls
Ten Typically Geological Suicides
Halcyon July in Algoma
Demon Pond
The Lynx in the Rapids
Winter Solstice
Winter Hawk
The World Poem
Hollow Wind, Empty Stars
Seven Electrical Angels
Gravid Lux
Fitting the Language Prosthesis
Language Acquisition Trauma
Afterword: A Note on the Poems | Christopher Dewdney


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.


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, No. 198, Autumn 2008, 2009 March

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, 60, Summer 2008, 2008 August