Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Selected for BC's Poetry in Transit. A DARK BOAT, a new collection of poetry by Patrick Friesen, is heavily inspired by cante jondo (Spanish "deep song", or flamenco) and fado (Portuguese songs of longing.) Friesen approaches music as a method of weaving his poems with both Spanish and Portuguese aspects of longing, imagistic leaps, and darkness. The poems in A DARK BOAT try to shake hands with the darkness; the kind of darkness that is rich and necessary for a full human life, the darkness of the soil into which seeds drop and grow, the darkness of the grave into which the body is lowered. These elusive and emotional poems say much, while telling as little as possible.
"I don't know how Patrick Friesen has found his way into these poems: they seem to spring from the beginning of time. Nothing is held back. The poems—beautiful to read—are as devastatingly real in their drama on an immense stage of sun and shadow, as living bone. The literary haunting is Lorca and the memories are of the stranger, the stray dog, the witness to the wedding on the banks of the river of death. I read these poems with the utter conviction that Friesen had crossed barriers of time, place, and culture to draw forth poems out of the heart of mystery."—Marilyn Bowering
"...If you've never heard fado music, you should. It is an intense, raw, emotional music... Or you could just read this book, which is imbued with his reminiscences of his trip and the music of fado... lines that punch you in the gut, leaving you breathless..."—Prairie Fire
"[Friesen's] poems... are both evocative and compelling in their exploration of how loss can connect us across cultural boundaries, yet also make visible the limits of that connectedness."—Canadi an Literature
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About the Author
Patrick Friesen writes poetry, essays, drama, scripts, songs, and text for dance and music. The author of over a dozen books of poetry, Friesen has also collaborated with various musicians, including Big Dave McLean, Cate Friesen, and Marilyn Lerner, and with choreographers/dancers Margie Gillis, Stephanie Ballard, and Ruth Cansfield. Friesen also teaches, part-time, as an instrucor in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria. He is the author of the poetry collections jumping in the asylum (Quattro Books, 2011) and A DARK BOAT (Anvil Press, 2012). Formerly of Winnipeg, Friesen now lives in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island.