Ian Burgham once again presents poems of compassion that celebrate all manner of the heartland’s hazards and risks.
In his third collection of poetry, The Grammar of Distance, Ian Burgham writes from his gut and his heart. His imagery is, by turns, sensuous and rough-hewn, soft and hard. The poems crackle with sonic energy; they whinny and stamp. They whistle in the dark. His poetic landscapes frequent the windswept coasts of Scotland; but in this collection, we also find him doing terribly Canadian things like snowshoeing, surveying, chopping wood. Sometimes Al Purdy can be heard in Burgham’s voice and, occasionally, Patrick Lane. His penchant for storytelling and Celtic elegiac moods makes him a solid candidate for the position of poetic counterpart to Alistair MacLeod. Like all strong poets, Burgham’s imagination breaks past borders. Tribal and intense, his poems are conversations with loved ones, lost ones, and all the poets with storms in their bones. They are feisty. They rant. They grieve. They celebrate. Burgham is a thinker, a philosophical poet, a restless soul who asks big questions.
Ian Burgham is an associate of the League of Canadian Poets. Born in New Zealand, raised in Canada, he has lived and worked for extended periods of time in both New Zealand and Scotland. He studied literature at Queen’s University and at the University of Edinburgh. He worked as an editor for Canongate Publishing and later became publisher of Macdonald Publishing in Edinburgh. He has previously published two collections of poetry, A Confession of Birds, a chapbook published in the UK in 2004, and The Stone Skippers, published in 2007 by Tightrope Books and nominated for the 2008 Relit Award. He currently divides his time between Toronto and Kingston. In 2004-5 Burgham won the Queen’s University “Well-Versed” Poetry Award. His work has been published in many Canadian literary journals including Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2 (CV2), The New Quarterly, The Literary Review of Canada, Queen’s Quarterly, dANDelion, Harpweaver, Precipice, Jones Avenue, andAscent Aspirations.
Praise for The Stone Skippers:
“… a voice you don’t want to miss.” —Di Brandt
“ … concision, leanness and directness …”—A.F. Moritz
“rare and remarkable … the work of one who has the ear for the possibilities of language …”—Alexander McCall Smith