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Sleeping in Tall Grass

Richard Therrien

Canadian Studies, Poetry

Published: April 2016
ISBN: 9781772121223
Pages: 88 Size: 5.25x9

"My emptiness will not be
frenetic with the friction
of my father’s silences
but still as the unmarked graves
of his many forgotten selves"
— From "Salt"

A cycle of poems, Sleeping in Tall Grass takes an unsparing look at a painful, abusive, yet strangely redemptive family story enfolded within the body of the Canadian prairie itself—at once physical, historical, and metaphysical. These intensely personal poems reflect the complex relationships between sound and space, language and silence. Treating time as more layered than sequential, they reflect a process of organic composition distilled from Therrien’s iterative observations and utterances. This is writing that reaches "into the very grain of existence"—a sonorous re-presentation of the human presence on the dispassionate but eternally giving plains.

Cultural worker, gardener, freelance writer, editor, and poet Richard Therrien was born and raised on—and is a repeated escapee from—the Canadian prairie. He has published across North America and currently works and lives in North Vancouver.

It's a complex and multi-layered book, offering poems that are rooted in the prairie landscape, featuring a multitude of voices that speak to the familial, the historical, the philosophical and the mystical. Many of the poems are dark, weighted and at times exquisitely painful. . . .The personal stories he deconstructs show how the speaker submits, turns back to the land that begat him, until he sleeps in tall grass, until readers hear in 'Envoy,' the final poem, 'a voice singing of its own forgetting.'

– Anne Sorbie, Alberta Views