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Desire Never Leaves

The Poetry of Tim Lilburn

By Tim Lilburn
Edited by Alison Calder
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889205147, 64 pages, December 2006
Ebook (EPUB) : 9780889205406, 64 pages, August 2009
Ebook (PDF) : 9780889205314, 64 pages, December 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn, selected with an introduction by Alison Calder
Neil Besner
Biographical Note
Alison Calder
Names Of God
Love At The Center Of Objects
Allah Of The Green Circuitry
Light’s Gobbling Eye
Theophany And Argument
Fervourino To A Barn Of Milking Doe Goats Early Easter Morning
Call To Worship In A Mass For The Life Of The World
Elohim Mocks His Images For The Life Of The World
I Bow To It
Spirit Of Agriculture, 1986
In The Hills, Watching
Contemplation Is Mourning
How To Be Here?
There Is No Presence
A Book Of Exhaustion
Afterword: Walking Out of Silence
Tim Lilburn


The selected poems in Desire Never Leaves span Tim Lilburn’s career, demonstrating the evolution of a unique and careful thinker as he takes his place among the nation’s premier writers. This edition of his poetry untangles many of the strands running through his works, providing insight into a poetic world that is both spectacular and humbling.
The introduction by Alison Calder situates Lilburn’s writing in an alternate tradition of prairie poetry that relies less on the vernacular and more on philosophy and meditation. Examining Lilburn’s antecedents in Christian mysticism and the ascetic tradition, Calder stresses the paradoxical nature of Lilburn’s writing—the expression of loss through plenitude. The divine in the natural world is glimpsed in brief flashes; nevertheless, the poet, driven by love, continues his quest for what glitters in things.
Tim Lilburn’s afterword is an evocative meditation grounded in personal history. He speaks of how poetry, a craning quiet, allows one to hear what is alive in the world. He also describes how poetry is resolutely attached to both a historical moment and an individual subjectivity that is inevitably anchored in time. Lilburn’s poetry is both a religious undertaking and a political gesture that speaks to the urgency of situating ourselves where we live.


Lilburn stands in awe of, and has come as close as humanly possible to capturing, the magnitude and magnificence of creation.

- John Cunningham, Arc Poetry Magazine, Volum 61, Winter 2009, 2009 January

Readers are bound to appreciate Lilburn's collection, not to mention the welcome inclusion of his afterword which reads like a biography, an essay and a meditation on the quiet power of poetry.

- Darlene Shatford, Canadian Literature, Number 195, Winter 2007, 2008 May

Desire Never Leaves ... is an excellent explanatory introduction to Lilburn's craft, Catholicism, and Prairie mysticism, thanks in part to one of Lilburn's own essays that serves as a postface.

- Georges Fetherling, Seven Oaks, May 2007, 2007 June