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.
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Read an Excerpt
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.