Invisible Dogs

by Barry Dempster


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Virtuosic poems for anyone who has ever survived a broken heart or made it past fifty. 

Invisible Dogs, Dempster’s fourteenth collection, is a complex but deeply coherent hymn to the difficult business of staying alive. This is a book for when it hurts so bad you hope you’ll die and are afraid you won’t—not because it offers consolation or the promise of a new dawn, but because it so compellingly documents the plain, hard, ungraceful, stumbling grief of the matter, and meets it with rare self-knowledge, wry humour, and an unornamented determination to go on living.

Dempster’s metaphors are like hairpin turns taken at breakneck speed. He has nerves of steel when it comes to self-examination, and it’s this relentless honesty and the emotional torque it induces that keep the voice on the road.

…He scrutinizes
the rearview mirror as if it were a bush about to spring
into flames, the past appearing closer than it really is.
Miles of missing her, those erratic white lines.
He keeps forgetting where he’s going – city,
corner store, centre of the universe. No wonder
arrival feels so temporary, like a borrowed bathroom key.

~ from “He Said/She Said”


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About the Author

Barry Dempster, twice nominated for the Governor General’s Award, is the author of fourteen previous collections of poetry. His collection The Burning Alphabet won the Canadian Authors’ Association Chalmers Award for Poetry in 2005. In 2010, he was a finalist for the Ontario Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts and in 2014 he was…

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Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1-926829-84-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-926829-84-5
  • Pages: 96
  • Year: 2013
  • Dimensions 6 x 8.75 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art:

    The cover image is Stutter by Robert Cadotte, courtesy of the Bau-Xi Gallery.

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