Omens in the Year of the Ox

by Steven Price


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Winner of the 2013 ReLit award for poetry

Omens, curses, the reading of entrails: means of grappling
with what is out of our hands, beyond our ken.

Steven Price’s second collection is part of a long-lived struggle to address the mysteries that both surround and inhabit us. The book draws together moments both contemporary and historical, ranging from Herodotus to Augustine of Hippo, from a North American childhood to Greek mythology; indeed, the collection is threaded with interjections from a Greek-style chorus of clever-minded, mischievous beings—half-ghost, half-muse—whose commentaries tormentingly egg the writer on. In poems that range from free verse to prose to formal constructions, Price addresses the moral lack in the human heart and the labour of living with such a heart. Yet the Hopkins-like, sonorous beauty of the language reveals “grace and the idea of grace everywhere, in spite of what we do.” The pleasures of Price’s musicality permeate confrontation with even the darkest of human moments; the poems thus surreptitiously remind us that to confront our own darkness is one of the divine acts of which humans are capable.

“There is a poetic adroitness here so knowing that it often hits you only afterward how deliciously chosen each syllable has been… [Price’s] technique allows him frequently to achieve what all artists dream of: the virtual disappearance from our awareness of the subtle technical intricacies that are unfolding there… it must have felt like this when TS Eliot came on the scene.” – The Globe & Mail (on Anatomy of Keys)


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About the Author

Steven Price was born and raised in Colwood, BC. His first collection of poetry, Anatomy of Keys (Brick Books, 2006), won the Gerald Lampert Award and was named a Globe & Mail Book of the Year. His work has appeared in Canadian and American literary journals. He is one of the poets in Breathing Fire…

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Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1-926829-76-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-926829-76-0
  • Pages: 103
  • Year: 2012
  • Dimensions 6 x 9 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art:

    Cover design by Michel Vrana.

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