The Sawchuk Poems
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: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs
Michael Buma, MATRIX 84, fall 2009
- The Morning Skate: King of Shutouts, King of Pain
Stu Hackel, Slap Shot: New York Times hockey blog, December 8, 2009
- Pain penned in poetry
Kevin Mitchell, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, October 21, 2008
- Poems draw reader inside personality of goaltending great Terry Sawchuk
Neil Stevens, Canadian Press, and Hamilton Spectator, February 19, 2008
- Pads and poetry
Joe O'Connor, National Post, February 21, 2008
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…