Epic in scope, lyrical in its celebration of nature, frequently uncompromising in its portrayal of human violence and greed, and rich in the keenly observed details --colours, sounds, rhythms, scents, and voices -- that constitute this place we call "our home and native land," Cantos North sings an alternate history, a myth of place, not origins, that cradles us all.
Guernica Editions (Essential Poets Series)
80 pages |
Epic in scope, lyrical in its celebration of nature, frequently uncompromising in its portrayal of human violence and greed, and rich in the keenly observed details … Cantos North sings an alternate history, a myth of place, not origins, that cradles us all.
Sherrill Grace, author of Canada and the Idea of North
Even while speaking out and acknowledging past cruelties our ancestors and we ourselves today continue to inflict on one another, this book, at its core, is a love song to Canada and its diverse geography... Cantos North is a must-read book. Its poetry is timely and timeless.Blaine Marchand
I felt Cantos North is a remarkable, haunting and unique epic poem. I imagined him sitting at a campfire in the stillness of the wilderness under the stars imparting his wise vision to an enthralled audience. Henry paints in poetry a history of the landscape of the North over the eons of time and in particular the impact of human migration in more recent times. He laments the violation of the land, the genocidal abuse of indigenous peoples and the barbaric lengths to which man will stoop for their own selfish gain. As he put it- “where man has touched the earth the land cries out in pain”. He clearly loves and is full of admiration for the natural beauty of the living landscape and for those who respect its integrity.
This epic is the first to see it [this northland] in its entirety as a matrix which binds the whole together in a national mythology.
I am really glad to hear that a special edition of Cantos North is in preparation for this anniversary year. They are the best poetic expression and appreciation of this land that I am aware of. They ought to be required reading in high school.
Per Brask, professor of theatre at the University of Manitoba; former director of Montreal’s Saidye Bronfman Centre.
About the author
Henry Beissel is a poet, playwright, fiction writer, translator and editor with well over 30 books published. Among his 23 collections of poetry are his epic Seasons of Blood and the lyrical Stones to Harvest. As a playwright he came to international fame with Inuk and the Sun, which premiered at the Stratford Festival in 1982 and has been translated into many languages and produced internationally. His most recent books of poetry include Fugitive Horizons, which engages the world of modern science; his celebration of our land and its people in Cantos North, which was republished in a bilingual English/French edition for the 150th anniversary of Canada. Henry is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Concordia University (Montreal) where he taught English Literature for thirty years and founded a flourishing Creative Writing Program. He now lives with his wife, Arlette Francière, the painter and literary translator, in Ottawa.