The Mourner’s Book of Albums | Daniel Scott Tysdal

ISBN: 978-1-926639-20-8
Pub Date: Fall 2010

Longlisted for the 2011 ReLit Award


An unconventional and profound mixed-media poetry collection that blends traditional and avant garde forms to explore remembrance, grief, and mourning. Daniel Scott Tysdal follows up his first award-winning collection of poetry with The Mourner’s Book of Albums, an emotionally striking and formally ambitious exploration of the elegiac tradition and the twenty-first-century attitude to remembrance and grief. Encountering a wide range of arresting events—from a best friend’s suicide to the war in Afghanistan, from improvised memorials to the plastinated corpses of Body Worlds—these innovative poems survey the forces and forms that shape what and how we mourn. The sonically lively lines, the vivid images, and the richly textured voices of the The Mourner’s Book of Albums are composed in a variety of traditional and unconventional forms—the lyric, the ballad, the graphic poem, and the fabricated document, to name a few—as a means of grappling with the many acts and practices that link the living and the dead. Tysdal compiles the albums, however fluid and fragile, that hold them together.

Click to read an excerpt from The Mourner’s Book of Albums.

Praise for Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method:

“Daniel Scott Tysdal’s poetry is an exhilarating mix of pop culture, philosophy, mythology, and visual art. Here is a poet who possesses the rare combination of experimental instinct and communicative acuity. Read this book for its confident virtuosity, its innovative spirit, and its surprising generosity.”—Jon Paul Fiorentino

“Tysdal recognizes and deconstructs—playfully—the patented absurdity of conventional language. He employs academic, literary, and pop cultural terms, references, discourses, and images to underscore the implicit argument here that standard semantic structures—rhetorics—obscure truth and, thus, Justice. Yet, for all their high-minded, critical jouissance, the lyrics are lively with accessible puns, jokes, games, and satire.”—George Elliot Clarke, author of Whylah Falls

“Tysdal at his best creates a complex, multidimensional, and often contradictory layering of thought and feeling; this tremendously rich, inventive, and energetic book is a most auspicious debut.”—Malcolm Woodland, “Letters in Canada 2006: Poetry,” University of Toronto Quarterly

Daniel Scott Tysdal is the author of Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method (Coteau 2006), which received the ReLit Award for Poetry (2007) and the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award (2006). His work has appeared in a number of Canadian literary journals and has earned him both an honourable mention at the 2003 National Magazine Awards and a place in the finals of the CBC’s 2005 National Poetry Face-Off. He teaches creative writing and English literature at the University of Toronto, Scarborough.

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Excerpt from The Mourner’s Book of Albums, by Daniel Scott Tysdal

WHAT IS MISSING

The night after the boy was kidnapped a group of teens got high and formed the Ministry of Pre-Emptive Memorials. The Minister of Stuffed Animals, The Minister of Flowers, and the Minister of Signed Letters and Anonymous Poems embarked with the others in pairs to locate the goods they’d been assigned to gather. Their work was finished by dawn, and they photographed it, though the memorial lacked the contribution of the Minister of Wreaths (who had been arrested lurking naked in the meat section of an all-night supermarket). The memorial did not bear witness to the boy. What the friends had prepared was meant to brace the world against a calamity yet to come. To keep it ready. Continue reading

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Launch for Jim Johnstone’s Sunday, the locusts

Sunday, the Locksts, by Jim JohnstoneMarch 24, 2010, 6:30 – 9:30
The Ossington
61 Ossington Ave
Toronto, ON

Join Tightrope Books for the launch of Jim Johnstone’s new poetry collection: Sunday, the locusts, with illustrations by Julienne Lottering. There’s more! Readings from Daniel Scott Tysdal (The Mourner’s Book of Albums, 2010) and Kathryn Mockler (Onion Man, forthcoming fall 2011).

A long poem that probes love and loss in fragments of verse and hybrid-media collage, Sunday, the locusts is a post-apocalyptic tour-de-force. Drawing  on a variety of disciplines including developmental biology, geology and philosophy, Jim Johnstone and Julienne Lottering blur linguistic boundaries to create a unique collaborative text. Hymn, map, portent—Sunday, the locusts warns against inevitable extinction while also revelling in the vivacity of personhood.

Jim Johnstone (b. 1978) is a writer and physiologist in Toronto. He is the author of two previous collections of poetry: Patternicity (Nightwood Editions, 2010) and The Velocity of Escape (Guernica Editions, 2008). His poems have been published in several Canadian magazines, including Descant, enRoute, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Maisonneuve, The Malahat Review, and PRISM International and anthologized in The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010. He is the founder and editor of Misunderstandings Magazine and poetry editor of Cactus Press.

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