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abecedarium

Dennis Cooley

Canadian Studies, Poetry

Paperback
Published: March 2014
ISBN: 9780888646453
Pages: 124 Size: 6x9

would you believe me when i make
consorts of alphabet
runaways & stayathomes i have rounded
up where they wandered
all over the page

Dennis Cooley masterfully extends the genre of the abecedary to explore his curiosity of the limitlessness of human communication. With linguistic wit and complexity, his poetry carries the reader through the historical developments of the alphabet. He pries open letters and words to play with both their immediate meaning and the possibilities within the words themselves, creating surprises as he explores spelling, sound, syntax, and pronunciation. After reading Cooley’s abecedarium you’ll never look at language the same way. Lovers of experimental poetry as well as those interested in linguistic play or the history of language will relish the rapid-fire shifts and musicality of Cooley’s newest collection of poetry.

Dennis Cooley taught Canadian literature, poetry, creative writing, and literary theory at St. John's College, University of Manitoba. Since his retirement he’s been writing steadily. He has published over a dozen books of poems, including Bloody Jack (2002) and the bentleys (2006). He lives in Winnipeg.

In recalling its titular genre’s function as exercise book and devotional text, abecedarium at once invokes conceptual writing and remains anchored in the prairie language poetry tradition in which Cooley has been at home for decades.

– Carl Watts, Canadian Literature