$16.95 CDN / US
Happy Birthday, Nicanor Parra is Jim Smith’s most extreme book yet. Bursting with anti-translations, non-stories, tiny lyrics and extended dictations, it is part birthday gift-bag, part writer’s memento mori. Smith takes hero worship, the urge to list, the longing for just a few more words from the dead, the little baby Josef Stalin and a microdot Bible salesman to places no one else could imagine. This is Smith is at his most poetic and his most political. Nicanor Parra’s Christ of Elqui is translated beyond recognition, science-fiction guru Judy Merril returns with an apocalyptic list, Archbishop Romero has a few more words, something is found in Pound, and the reader stands astride the Ebro River in the failing light of the Spanish Civil War. Whether or not there is a saviour in every box, there is always (for now) a lake with loons, a sky and fish. More than anything, this book is packed with poets who jostle, confide and confess. Warning: the world herein is not normal.