Excerpt from The Stone Skippers, “The Stone Skippers”

The Stone Skippers

Beyond anywhere you might be now-beyond
the debris of all those elsewheres and whereabouts you
promised yourself you would inhabit if you had the time and
money (as if you could will it … as if you knew the direction),
children open their wide morning eyes and wade chest high into
stone skipping days, into neck deep light, into constant
conversations that bleed the mornings amber. Continue reading

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Excerpt from The Grammar of Distance, “Music of a Walk Through Leaves”

Music of a Walk Through Leaves

We’d walk home from school through fallen leaves,
hand in hand, the girl whose family owned the dairy.
She took piano lessons and sang in the choir.
She could raise a spring day with her song.
Sing the losses in me. Re-tune the world.

Since stepping ashore from the ship that
sometimes fuelled my dwindling dreams,
carrying my diminished life in a backpack,
providing my own running commentary to fill the silence,
I’ve revisited our walk over the years since she left,
trying to find the music of those leaves.
No trace, a random arrangement of notes.

Picture a grown man on leave from his senses,
testing his iron will, the thrust of his hands
through dead duff. Off in the harbour distance,
beyond arm’s length, the ship’s blasting horn,
if you see what I mean.

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The Grammar of Distance | Ian Burgham

The Grammar of Distance, by Ian BurghamISBN-13: 978-1-926639-09-3

Pub Date: Spring 2010

Ian Burgham once again presents poems of compassion that celebrate all manner of the heartland’s hazards and risks.

In his third collection of poetry, The Grammar of Distance, Ian Burgham writes from his gut and his heart. His imagery is, by turns, sensuous and rough-hewn, soft and hard. The poems crackle with sonic energy; they whinny and stamp. They whistle in the dark. His poetic landscapes frequent the windswept coasts of Scotland; but in this collection, we also find him doing terribly Canadian things like snowshoeing, surveying, chopping wood. Sometimes Al Purdy can be heard in Burgham’s voice and, occasionally, Patrick Lane. His penchant for storytelling and Celtic elegiac moods makes him a solid candidate for the position of poetic counterpart to Alistair MacLeod. Like all strong poets, Burgham’s imagination breaks past borders. Tribal and intense, his poems are conversations with loved ones, lost ones, and all the poets with storms in their bones. They are feisty. They rant. They grieve. They celebrate. Burgham is a thinker, a philosophical poet, a restless soul who asks big questions.

Click to read an excerpt from The Grammar of Distance.

Ian Burgham is an associate of the League of Canadian Poets. Born in New Zealand, raised in Canada, he has lived and worked for extended periods of time in both New Zealand and Scotland. He studied literature at Queen’s University and at the University of Edinburgh. He worked as an editor for Canongate Publishing and later became publisher of Macdonald Publishing in Edinburgh. He has previously published two collections of poetry, A Confession of Birds, a chapbook published in the UK in 2004, and The Stone Skippers, published in 2007 by Tightrope Books and nominated for the 2008 Relit Award. He currently divides his time between Toronto and Kingston. In 2004-5 Burgham won the Queen’s University “Well-Versed” Poetry Award. His work has been published in many Canadian literary journals including Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2 (CV2), The New Quarterly, The Literary Review of Canada, Queen’s Quarterly, dANDelion, Harpweaver, Precipice, Jones Avenue, and Ascent Aspirations.

Praise for The Stone Skippers:

“… a voice you don’t want to miss.” —Di Brandt

“ … concision, leanness and directness …”—A.F. Moritz

“rare and remarkable … the work of one who has the ear for the possibilities of language …”—Alexander McCall Smith

Ian’s poetry has also been integrated into jewelery by artist Jeanine Payer. View the beautiful creations on Jeanine’s website: www.jeaninepayer.com

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The Stone Skippers | Ian Burgham w/ an Introduction by Roland Leach

The Stone Skippers, by Ian BurghamISBN13: 9780973864588
Pub Date: 2007

Longlisted for the 2008 Relit Award

 

In The Stone Skippers, Burgham launches dazzling poems that explore the central core of our humanity upon the Canadian literary landscape.

The poems examine how love is a territory we map with little skill. The speaker returns again and again to the distances we set up or have imposed upon ourselves by relationships of desire and love, all against the motif of conversations inner conversations, day-to-day conversations, one-sided conversations, unfinished and halting conversations.

Click to read an excerpt from The Stone Skippers.

Ian Burgham is an associate of the League of Canadian Poets. In 2004 he won the Queens University Well-Versed Poetry Prize. He is a graduate of both Queens University and the University of Edinburgh, and has lived for extended periods in various parts of the world. He served as a senior editor at Canongate Publishing in Edinburgh during the early 1980s. His poems have been published in a number of literary journals and magazines including dANDelion, Queens Quarterly, Scottish Arts Journal, Harpweaver, and the Literary Review of Canada. Burgham has had one poetry book published in the United Kingdom: Confession of Birds, (2003 chapbook). His first full collection of poems, The Stone Skippers, will be published in Australia and New Zealand by Sunline Press, Perth (introduction by Newcastle Prize winning poet, Roland Leach) and, in the UK by MacLean Dubois Publishers in February 2007 (Introduction by novelist and poet, Alexander McCall Smith). He is currently working on his third collection. Ian works as a volunteer to further the efforts of the Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry. He is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Queens University.

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