Thursday, February 26, 2009

George Stanley's Vancouver: A Poem

The Tyee's Stan Persky reviews George Stanley's Vancouver: A Poem (New Star, 2008), which was launched in the front room of our Main Street store last fall, along with Peter Culley's new book of poems, The Age of Briggs and Stratton.

"Stanley's Vancouver is a book about the mind of a poet -- a poet in Vancouver, as it happens -- and about Vancouver, a city that appears in passing glances, by refraction, sometimes from a distance (say, from an office window at the North Vancouver college, on the far side of Burrard Inlet, where Stanley taught literature), most often from within the city's busses, pubs, restaurants and department stores, and in such ordinary places as the lobby of an apartment building in Kitsilano, a building where 'the seniors in their apartments' are 'waiting for a moment' in the late afternoon.

At other times the city sits there in stolid silence, its buildings weighty as the mountains north of Vancouver in which 'we see two rocks, & call them Lions,' Stanley says, and later notes, 'like lions sculpted by some Assyrian or Henry Moore.' Then looking away from the mountains, back toward Vancouver, he adds, 'City of death, city of friends.'"