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Insult to the Brain

Insult to the Brain

By Nicola Vulpe

Winner of the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry

They were shot, transported, deported. They were hanged, or they hanged themselves. They starved, or their hearts suddenly failed, or drugs or cancer consumed them. Others lived into their nineties, one even to 103. Nicola Vulpe's Insult to the Brain transports us from the gas-seeped muck of the Somme, to a tiny apartment in Buenos Aires, to an undisclosed prison yard in Iran, and a hundred times and places in between, to join some of the last century's finest poets in their final moments: horrific, tragic, ordinary, silly, absurd. Whether it is with the minimalist Gare de Rouen, 1916, dedicated to Émile Verhaeren, who was accidently dropped under a train by an adoring crowd, the lament The Poet Descends, Willing the Stairs, for Forough Farrokhzad, who swerved her car into a wall to avoid a school bus, or the openly political Death and His Kin, for Tal Almallouhi, who disappeared into a Syrian prison and may or may not be dead, Vulpe writes unblinkingly with clarity, kindness--even humour-- of our common fate, and brings us closer to the fragile core of our humanity.


Guernica Editions (Essential Poets Series)


130 pages |

Regular price $20.00 CAD
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Vulpe walks where no one has walked before-- and to stunning effect.

Laurence Eldredge; The Oxford Magazine, Michaelmas Term, 2019

This collection is a unique ode to poets, their lives, and poetry itself.

Arc Poetry Magazine


Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry

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About the author

Nicola Vulpe considers poetry an unfortunate habit, but has nonetheless published four collections of poetry, When the Mongols Return, Blue Tile, Insult to the Brain, which won the 2020 Fred Cogswell Award, Through the Waspmouth I Drew You; a novella, The Extraordinary Event of Pia H.; an anthology of Canadian poetry about the Spanish Civil War; and essays on subjects as diverse as the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the afterlife of Norman Bethune.