There's a Trick With a Knife I'm Learning to Do : Poems, 1963-1978 by Michael Ondaatje
New York : W.W. Norton, 1979. First edition. Hardcover. 107 pages ; 22 cm. $12.95 dust jacket. Sunning to dust jacket back side. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do
This volume of selected and new poems brings together the best of Michael Ondaatje, whom Joyce Carol Oates has called "one of the most original and consistently exciting of North America poets."
Ondaatje is familiar to many readers through his innovative and powerful works of fiction: Coming Through Slaughter, which recreated the life and interior landscape of the legendary black jazz trumpeter Buddy Bolden, and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, which won the Governor General's Award in Canada. This work was also adapted by the author for the stage and was widely performed in the United States.
The poems presented here are glimpses into a compelling and fascinating private world, where images of horror are held at arm's length like the Medusa's head, to be viewed through eccentric mirrors and prisms. The poems aim at mystery rather than explicitness, for here, as in his other writing, Ondaatje strives to move beyond facts to myths and truths. His subjects are often madmen and animals who inhabit together a landscape of fearful natural beauty, much like the paintings of Henri Rousseau, where ordinary events and objects explode without warning into the wonderful and the awesome.
MICHAEL ONDAATJE was born in 1943 in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where his family had lived for several generations. He came to Canada in 1962 and is now a Canadian citizen.
He lives with his family in Toronto and teaches at Glendon College, \brk University.
Also by Michael Ondaatje
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
"The Collected Works of Billy the Kid frankly strains one's powers of description Ondaatje*s eye for detail is wonderful and he uses it poetically, with superb restraint." —Larry McMurtry, Washington Post Book World
"Wonderful.. .Ondaatje's language is clean and energetic, with the pop of bullets. This is literature, art. The leaps and the control are the thing." —Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
"Ondaatje is a poet and even his prose moves with rhythmic, circular precision A good little book, carefully crafted, thoroughly literate." —New York Times Book Review
Coming Through Slaughter
"Like a haunting refrain, this sad, seductive, curious book sends ripples through the mind long after the simple story has been told." —Publishers Weekly
"The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Ondaatje's first novel, is an astonishing work, magnificently written, beautifully conceived. It lives in that interesting country between documentary and fic-tion and it conjures up the West with such raw felicity that all the old cliches fall down. We are there, and it is awful and fascinating. Coming Through Slaughter uses a similar strategy. Ondaatje brilliantly captures the times and the character of Buddy Bolden, a strange, neurasthenic, but highly talented trumpet player, New Orleans, ca. 1900." —The Carlton Miscellany
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