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The False Laws of Narrative

The Poetry of Fred Wah

By Fred Wah
Edited by Louis Cabri
Subjects Literary Criticism, Canadian Literature, Poetry
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9781554580460, 102 pages, October 2009
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554582365, 102 pages, April 2011
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554581627, 102 pages, October 2009

Table of contents

Table of Contents for The False Laws of Narrative: The Poetry of Fred Wah selected with an introduction by Louis Cabri
Neil Besner
Biographical Note
Louis Cabri
Mountain that has come over me
even the eyes
akokli (goat) creek
Gold Hill
Poem for Turning
For the Western Gate
Havoc Nation
Hamill’s Last Stand
severance spring water
September spawn
nv s ble
We are different
sounds of o and ree
Breathe dust like you breathe wind
Sigh. A tenuous slight stream
A hight
Aug 5
Music at the Heart of Thinking 1
Music at the Heart of Thinking 6
Music at the Heart of Thinking 28
Music at the Heart of Thinking 50
Music at the Heart of Thinking 55
Music at the Heart of Thinking 77
Music at the Heart of Thinking 78
Music at the Heart of Thinking 89
Music at the Heart of Thinking 93
Music at the Heart of Thinking 98
ArtKnot 1
ArtKnot 2
ArtKnot 4
Hermes Poems
The Poem Called Syntax
Dead in My Tracks: Wildcat Creek Utaniki
Ripraps (Louis Cabri) and Afterwords (Fred Wah)


The False Laws of Narrative is a selection of Fred Wah’s poems covering the poets entire poetic trajectory to date. A founding editor of Tish magazine, Wah was influenced by leading progressive and innovative poets of the 1960s and was at the forefront of the exploration of racial hybridity, multiculturalism, and transnational family roots in poetry. The selection emphasizes his innovative poetic range.
Wah is renowned as one of Canada’s finest and most complex lyric poets and has been lauded for the musicality of his verse. Louis Cabri’s introduction offers a paradigm for thinking about how sound is actually structured in Wah’s improvisatory poetry and offers fresh insights into Wah’s context and writing. In an afterword by the poet himself, Wah presents a dialogue between editor and poet on the key themes of the selected poems and reveals his abiding concerns as poet and thinker.


Wah's attention to the local is meticulous. It is also very inventive.... Cabri's...critical work in False Laws provides a sophisticated, wide-ranging analysis of Wah's generic/theoretical concerns (the collage epic, the sound of language, hybrid identity) and his main historical influences (William Carlos Williams, the Black Mountain poets).... [A] well-edited collection and a solid step towards the wider circulation of Wah's poetry.

- David Barrick, matrix, #85, 2010 March

It's about time...that someone came along to write a book such as this. And it's a pleasure to see it as part of the Laurier Poetry Series, which has achieved a standard of excellence that other institutions should be admiring and emulating.... The False Laws of Nature is an excellent selection of Wah's poetry from his earliest to his most recent. Cabri demonstrates not just an understanding of but a profound respect for Wah both as an individual and as a poet. Cabri has created the standard by which all others should be judged.

- John Herbert Cunningham, Prairie Fire Review of Books, Volume 10, number 2, October 2010, 2010 October