Problematica: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020

Problematica: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020

Problematica: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020

Problematica: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020


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A best-of collection from one of Canada’s most ambitious poets

Problematica — a scientific term used to describe species that defy classification. See unidentifiable.

George Murray is a strange beast. Lauded as one of Canada’s leading poets, his work has been published around the world, but here at home, he has never really “fit in” with his contemporaries. By turns archly formal and thoughtful, insouciant and hilarious, each of his six books seems intent on staking out its own identity, standing alone in stark contrast to all others.

Yet, in this judicious selection of new and selected poems spanning Murray’s 25-year career, we see threads and patterns emerge like fractals. From early narrative poems to lyrical explorations of the metaphysical to investigations of the colloquial and contemporary, Murray’s work roams a landscape that includes everything from happiness to regret, love to loss, doubt to faith, anxiety to acceptance.

This collection not only represents the best of Murray’s earlier poems, but also surprises readers with a section of never-before-seen new work, revealing a life spent wrestling with what it means to arrive, live, and leave. Problematica is a considerable body of poetry from a mind that obsessively wanders the edges of thought and language, working to identify what boundaries may or may not exist.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770415331
Publisher: Misfit Book
Publication date: 09/07/2021
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

George Murray is the award-winning author of eight books of poems and aphorisms as well as a book for children. His poems have appeared in magazines and journals around the world. He grew up in rural Ontario and has spent time abroad in Italy, Mexico, and New York City but now calls St. John’s, Newfoundland, his home.

Read an Excerpt

Places, Everyone

It is late, and you are always late
arriving, and the bell has rung
and the lobby lights are flashing—
so, watch the crowd to see
where you’re supposed to go.
Track the shapes of those ahead
looking to find a seat, filing
through the dark beyond the doors,
but stopping before the curtains.
It was a mad rush getting here,
but now it’s out of your hands,
and soon the spotlights will rise
with everyone in their proper
places and the tale will be told.
It is time to make your last
breath deep enough to recount
how all went in its entirety,
the story of how you came to be
standing here in line at the will-call,
late and waiting on a ticket
reserved in your name for a show
you aren’t even sure is still running,
and of which you heard only one thing—
there will be no intermission.

Table of Contents

Introduction to George Murray 1

From Carousel 5

The Carnie's Obituary 6

The Medium's Observance 7

The Aerialist's Fall 8

The Lion Tamer's Embalming 9

The Ventriloquist's Homicide 10

The Diviner's Eulogy 11

The Astrologer's Last Testament 12

The Exorcist's Epitaph 13

The Eschatologist's End 14

The Numerologist's Obituary 15

The Oracle's Will 16

The Solipsist's Requiem 17

The Pornophile's Eulogy 18

The Somnambulist's Burial 19

The Narcissist's Kaddish 20

The Coroner's Autopsy 21

The Mnemonist's Eulogy 22

The Cardiologist's Arrest 23

From the Cottage Builder's Letter 25

The Last of the Sinners Waits on a Rock for Noah 26

The Cottage Builder's Letter 28

Questions for an Elderly Gentleman 40

The Train 42

Nostalgia for the Second Just Past 43

Excerpts from Great Literatures of the Past 45

Library 46

Despite the Hunger and Delicious Taste 47

Rain 49

An Egyptian Soldier on the Red Sea Swims Away from Moses 51

From the Hunter 53

Hunter 54

Weathervane 57

Violin 59

Kite 61

Anchor 63

Cage 66

Pike 68

Statue 70

Bear 72

Flag 73

Minefield 74

Book 76

Reef 78

Crane 80

From the Rush to Here 83

This Is Not Your Story 84

Rearview Mirror 85

A Moment's Autograph 86

Days of Glass 87

Drawing in Water 88

Ditch 89

Automatic Doors 90

The Unequal Gaze 91

The Devil 92

Truck Stop Gothic 93

Many Worlds 94

A Silent Film 95

A Set of Deadly Negotiations 96

Rush 97

War Memorial 98

Silence Is a Dead Language 99

All the Standard Candles 100

Exit Strategy 101

Mostly the World Waits 102

Go 103

From Whiteout 105

Dante's Shepherd 106

The New Weather 107

Brushfires 108

Fuse 109

Cowboy Story 110

The Snails 111

Song for Memory 114

Pareidolia 116

Emergency Broadcast System 117

Owed 119

Blazon for the Crone 120

Song for a Divorce Budget 121

The Definition of Zero 122

Training Day 123

Icarus in the Wax Museum 124

Rose 125

State of Emergency 126

Whiteout 129

Cantus Firmus (Spring Morning) 130

From Diversion 131

#CivilDisconvenience 132

#ClockworkOrRage 134

#MarginalPersonalityOrder 136

#OutLiars 138

#UCan'tDoucheThis 140

#TheKnownUniVersace 142

#SocialMedea 144

#HelterSkeletor 146

#GloryGloryHolelluja 148

#TheBookOfRevolutions 150

Invisible Ink 153

The Architect 154

The Clearing 155

Kitchen Sink Drama 156

Animal Is My Inner Animal 157

False Spring 159

A Ninevite Pedagogue Relates the Lesson of Jonah 160

Prize Pumpkin 162

New Refugees Wait at the Lights to Cross Kenmount Road in a Blizzard 163

Old Man 165

A Long Dead Woman from Bethany Is Saddened to See Lazarus Swept Away 166

Prisoner Transport 168

Death of the Devout Christian's Husband 169

Problematica 171

Just Enjoy the Party, She Said 172

Gutter 173

Dogs 174

Things Cut in Half 175

Late Storm 176

Ectopia Cordis 177

White 178

Summer Fever 179

Picture the Audacity of a Pig 180

How to Pick the Perfect Sapling for a Lean-To 181

Swear Jar 182

Grace 183

Storm Door 184

The Perseids 185

In Season 186

Lot's Eurydice 187

Special Weather Statement 188

Nesting Instinct 191

Incertae sedis 192

Irish Exit 193

Flute Lesson 194

Hitcher 195

The Verge 196

You Can't Say Anything Anymore 197

Places, Everyone 198

Acknowledgements 199

About the Author 201

Permissions 202

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