No TV For Woodpeckers

No TV For Woodpeckers

Gary Barwin
  • $18.00


April 2017
96 pages | ISBN 978-1-928088-30-1

In No TV for Woodpeckers the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us – that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. As philosophical as it is entertaining, No TV for Woodpeckers is a complex and multi-layered work that offers an unexpected range of pleasures.

Reviews | InterviewsArticles |  Excerpt | About the Author

Reviews

Wilted Vegetables and Hope (MLA Chernoff, Canadian Literature, 11/10/2018)
"Gary Barwin [is] attuned to this serene weirdness, but in radically disparate ways. Barwin’s notorious brand of surrealism attends to the laughter provoked by ecological anxieties. His title, No TV for Woodpeckers, is a nod to an undue philosophical propensity to concurrently belittle and fetishize animals and their apparent lack of representational capacities. In other words, there is no screen upon which the woodpecker can project its own desires, no symbolic order for the animal to traverse as it attempts to fill some originary lacuna."

A Review of No TV for Woodpeckers (Sharon Berg, Freefall, Winter 2018)
"Gary Barwin is included in most people's understanding of the list of avant garde and/or surrealist authors of Canadian poetry. This book will not disappoint people who lean that way."

No TV for Woodpeckers by Gary Barwin, If Pressed by Andrew McEwan, and Ecology without Culture: Aesthetics for a Toxic World by Christine L. Marran (Michael D. Sloane, the Goose, 01/08/2018)
"In No TV for Woodpeckers, Barwin engages and entertains the reader in a way that ensures some semblance of an environmental (re)orientation and immersion through energy, humour, and transformation. Barwin knows that even 'endlessnesslessnesslessness' (37) comes to an end, but No TV for Woodpeckers warrants repeat readings."

A ‘best of’ list of 2017 Canadian poetry books (rob mclennan, DUSIE, 01/01/2018)
"No TV for Woodpeckers quickly establishes itself as a collection of poems thick with detail, distraction and play, constructed, if not to unsettle, but to keep the reader slightly off-balance, albeit through rhythm, chants and repetitions. This book requires attention, one that requires the reader to dig deep into the quick repetitions, the variations on sound and play, and thrums and twists of both language and meaning."

Fiddlehead Staff & Editors Recommend Books Read in 2017 (Phillip Crymble, The Fiddlehead, 21/12/2017) 
"What I found most appealing about these challenging, and, at times, willfully difficult poems, however, was their sense of play. So often, rigorously experimental work falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously, and this is something that Barwin consistently manages to avoid by allowing a certain amount of whimsy to inform his practice."

2017 Best Books of the Year (Ali Blythe, The Writers' Trust of Canada, 14/12/2017)

"The poems are incantations against the difficulties of living. They enliven me. They read like conceptual prayers full of animals. Animals made of words and bodies."

Gary Barwin, No TV for Woodpeckers (rob mclennan, rob mclennan's blog, 26/06/2017)
"No TV for Woodpeckers quickly establishes itself as a collection of poems thick with detail, distraction and play, constructed, if not to unsettle, but to keep the reader slightly off-balance, albeit through rhythm, chants and repetitions. This book requires attention, one that requires the reader to dig deep into the quick repetitions, the variations on sound and play, and thrums and twists of both language and meaning."

Barwin's Wonderous Words Exciting (Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press, 24/06/2017)
"Barwin’s poems are struck through with a wide-eyed wonder, and when they aren’t revelling in the sound of language or crafting crazed imaginings, they work to dig out the strangeness of the everyday."

Review: Kevin Connolly's Xiphoid Process, Linda Besner's Feel Happier in Nine Seconds and Gary Barwin's No TV for Woodpeckers (Derek Webster, Globe and Mail, 16/06/2017)
"In its best pieces (including Grip, In Memoriam, the eerie Autopsy, the intriguing Foot, Gaspar and a monologue called Alien Babies), Barwin yokes his clowns to a serious chariot and arrives somewhere unique and utterly surprising."

Hot Hamilton Reads (Jessica Rose, Hamilton Magazine, 01/06/2017)
"His most recent collection, No TV for Woodpeckers, explores the natural world, in particular, Hamilton's biodiversity, through Barwin's inventive and entralling use of language."

A Review of Gary Barwin's No TV for Woodpeckers (Phillip Crymble, Hamilton Review of Books, 01/06/2017)
"Again and again, Barwin shows us how charlatans, business interests, and technology come together to create cultural texts and interfaces that jam, compromise and contaminate our abilities to forge meaningful relationships with one another. But by worrying 'the empty spot' left by Ronnie Claire Edwards’ death in the same way the speaker imagines his tongue will continually return to probe the socket of his soon to be extracted tooth, something transformative takes place. What Barwin commemorates in 'The Waltons, My Tooth, and the Oral Torah,' what he elegizes, is the elegiac mode itself, and by demonstrating what language can do, he allows us to feel, if only briefly, less lost, less lonely, and less alone."

Giller nominee Gary Barwin explores language in new poetry (Barb Carey, Toronto Star, 04/20/2017)
"Barwin invites us into a strange but marvellous world of words, and it helps to keep a dictionary (or Google) handy. Often I thought that he was making up words (which he also does), only to discover that, for instance, spirketting is a nautical term and there really is a bird called the fulvous whistling-duck."

Interviews

In Conversation (Joel Rubinoff, Waterloo Region Record, 27/10/2018)
"Writers are people who speak truth, or the slipperiness of the truth, so they engage on those [personal] levels."

Articles

Novelist and poet Gary Barwin chosen as Laurier’s Edna Staebler Writer in Residence (Tanis MacDonald, Wilfrid Laurier University blog, 05/10/2018)
"'Gary has shown a remarkable aptitude for bringing together different facets of the artistic community through his use of visual art,' said [associate professor in Laurier's Department of English and Film Studies and chair of the Edna Staebler Writer in Residence Committee, Tanis] MacDonald. 'I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of collaborations Gary’s residency can foster between faculties.'"

National Poetry Month : Gary Barwin (rob mclennan, Chaudiere Books, 17/04/2018)
Read Gary's poem "Names of the Hare."

The Hebrew Alphabet and How a Letter May Unmake the World (Gary Barwin, Gary Barwin, 16/02/2018)
"I love this idea. That discovering a new letter might fix what is wrong with the world. That its new sound would heal the crack in everything. That we might discover that this new letter is already in the world and we just need to know how to pronounce it. Or maybe that by playing with the shapes of existing letters, we might discover this mysterious missing letter and solve everything. This tradition imagines that the very letters of the alphabet are powerful. That they are magical. That the elements of our language, of our writing, of our speaking, of our communication make the world, represent the world, speak back to the world, improve the world. That there is something to say that is just beyond our reach. For now."

6 Canadian writers share writing resolutions for 2018 (CBC Books, 01/03/2018)
"It's valuable to think about what one values and what has become a habit that one wants to eliminate, continue or interrogate. Though it often seems like the writing is the one making the resolutions and my job is just to learn from the process and consider what it all means."

10 Must-read Books of 2017 (League of Canadian Poets, 21/12/2017)

"2017 Best Books of the Year" (Writers' Trust of Canada, 14/12/2017)
"The poems are incantations against the difficulties of living. They enliven me. They read like conceptual prayers full of animals. Animals made of words and bodies. Chuang Tzu-y." – Ali Blythe

McMaster authors celebrated for having the write stuff (McMaster Daily News, 29/11/2017)

Chappy Hour (Tan Light, All Lit Up, 05/01/2017)
"ALU resident mixologist Tan is back at it again to cure you of the post-National-Poetry-Month blues with a fresh cocktail for spring and a mighty collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers by Gary Barwin (Wolsak and Wynn)."

Excerpt

Click here to read selected poems from No TV for Woodpeckers

About the Author

Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, multimedia artist and the author of twenty-one books of poetry, fiction and books for children. His recent books include Scotiabank Giller Prize– and Governor General’s Award–shortlisted Yiddish for Pirates and the poetry collection Moon Baboon Canoe. A PhD in music composition, Barwin has been writer-in-residence at Western University, the Toronto Public Library, Hillfield Strathallan College and with ArtForms’ Writers in the House program for at-risk youth. He teaches creative writing in the Mohawk College Continuing Education program and will be the writer-in-residence at McMaster University and the Hamilton Public Library for 2017–2018. Born in Northern Ireland to South African parents of Ashkenazi descent, Barwin moved to Canada as a child. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and at garybarwin.com.


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