Night Work

The Sawchuk Poems

by Randall Maggs


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Winner of the 2008 Winterset Award
and the 2009 E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize

Winner of the Kobzar Literary Award 2010

Shortlisted for the 2009 Heritage and History Book Award
[Writers Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador]

and longlisted for the Relit Award

Globe 100 book in 2008

A hockey saga, wrapping the game’s story in the “intense, moody, contradictory” character of Terry Sawchuk, one of its greatest goalies.

Denied the leap and dash up the ice,
what goalies know is side to side, an inwardness of monk
and cell. They scrape. They sweep. Their eyes are elsewhere
as they contemplate their narrow place. Like saints, they pray for nothing,
which brings grace. Off-days, what they want is space. They sit apart
in bars. They know the length of streets in twenty cities.
But it’s their saving sense of irony that further
isolates them as it saves.

– from “One of You”

In compact, conversational poems that build into a narrative long poem, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems follows the tragic trajectory of the life and work of Terry Sawchuk, dark driven genius of a goalie who survived twenty tough seasons in an era of inadequate upper-body equipment and no player representation. But no summary touches the searching intensity of Maggs’s poems. They range from meditations on ancient/modern heroism to dramatic capsules of actual games, in which the mystery of character meets the mystery of transcendent physical performance. Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems is illustrated with photographs mirroring the text, depicting key moments in the career of Terry Sawchuk, his exploits and his agony.

Through his marvelous, moving poetry, Randall Maggs gets closer than any biographer to the heart of the darkest, most troubled figure in the history of the national game. This may be the truest hockey book ever written. It reaches a level untouched by conventional sports literature… His Sawchuk is real.” – Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail columnist and Canada’s premier sportswriter and commentator

Night Work: A Sawchuk Poem – a dramatic short film based on the book Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs

“Sawchuk” – A Song Written For Terry Sawchuk by Ron Hynes from his 2010 album “Stealing Genius”

Fourth printing


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About the Author

Randall Maggs is the author of Timely Departures (poetry, 1994), and co-editor of two anthologies pairing Newfoundland and Canadian poems with those of Ireland. He is one of the organizers and former artistic director of Newfoundland’s March Hare, the largest literary festival in Atlantic Canada.  He is a former professor of literature at Sir Wilfred…

More about Randall Maggs

Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1-894078-62-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-894078-62-7
  • Pages: 224
  • Year: 2008
  • Dimensions 6 x 8.75 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art:

    Photograph by the Toronto Star

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