The False Laws of Narrative is a selection of Fred Wah’s poems covering the poets entire poetic trajectory to date. A founding editor of Tish magazine, Wah was influenced by leading progressive and innovative poets of the 1960s and was at the forefront of the exploration of racial hybridity, multiculturalism, and transnational family roots in poetry. The selection emphasizes his innovative poetic range.
Wah is renowned as one of Canada’s finest and most complex lyric poets and has been lauded for the musicality of his verse. Louis Cabri’s introduction offers a paradigm for thinking about how sound is actually structured in Wah’s improvisatory poetry and offers fresh insights into Wah’s context and writing. In an afterword by the poet himself, Wah presents a dialogue between editor and poet on the key themes of the selected poems and reveals his abiding concerns as poet and thinker.
About the Author
Fred Wah has been involved with a number of literary magazines over the years, such as Open Letter and West Coast Line . Recent books are the biofiction Diamond Grill (1996), Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity (2000), a collection of essays, and Sentenced to Light (2008), a collection of poetic image/text projects. He splits his time between the Kootenays in southeastern B.C. and Vancouver.
Louis Cabri is author of The Mood Embosser , which was awarded the 2002 book of the year by Small Press Traffic (San Francisco), and that can’t (forthcoming). He edited, from Philadelphia, the poets’ newsletter PhillyTalks and co-edited, from Ottawa/Calgary, hole magazine and books. He teaches literary theory, Canadian and US modern and contemporary poetry, and creative writing at the University of Windsor.
Read an Excerpt
The Poem Called Syntax by Fred Wah
We live on the edge of a lake called Echo.
I love this notion that noise makes itself,
so the lake holds all noise in its depths
and when the dog barks it gets it from the lake.
About nine thousand feet above these lakes (all lakes)
there is a geometry of sound, something like Plato's cave of noise.
It is from that construct the dog's bark takes shape,
a resounding of an earlier bark conditioned by the alpine.
History and physics. Acoustic paradigms in a bog of algae.
When I tell all my cousins and friends about this
they'll come to live on the shores of this lake and clean it up.
From the balconies of their summer homes they'll ask a lot of questions.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents for
The False Laws of Narrative: The Poetry of Fred Wah selected with an introduction by Louis Cabri
Mountain that has come over me
even the eyes
akokli (goat) creek
Poem for Turning
For the Western Gate
Hamill’s Last Stand
severance spring water
nv s ble
We are different
sounds of o and ree
Breathe dust like you breathe wind
Sigh. A tenuous slight stream
Music at the Heart of Thinking 1
Music at the Heart of Thinking 6
Music at the Heart of Thinking 28
Music at the Heart of Thinking 50
Music at the Heart of Thinking 55
Music at the Heart of Thinking 77
Music at the Heart of Thinking 78
Music at the Heart of Thinking 89
Music at the Heart of Thinking 93
Music at the Heart of Thinking 98
The Poem Called Syntax
Dead in My Tracks: Wildcat Creek Utaniki
( sentenced )
Ripraps (Louis Cabri) and Afterwords (Fred Wah)