Department of Critical Thought No. 3
From prolific Canadian writer George Bowering comes Horizontal Surfaces, the complete collection of long-form poetic criticism that extends his 2007 chapbook of the same name, and the latest addition to BookThug’s Department of Critical Thought.
Horizontal Surfaces came from the same atelier as earlier critical works, Craft Slices (1985) and Errata (1988). In it, Bowering offers philosophical musings on topics as wide-ranging as poetry’s accessibility and what that means for baseball (a favourite topic for the author), the solidity of Ezra Pound’s writing, and spirituality in the west.
In some ways, readers may see this as a telling of Bowering’s life to this point—a mid-life pseudo-memoir of sorts, after achieving critical acclaim as a novelist, poet, historian, Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, judge of major literary competitions… But this work does so much more: expressing the value and validity of language; how words have been important to Bowering, as useful tools to exact meaning; and at the same time, calling into question the utility of poetry to truly represent those things that our senses perceive to be “real.”