Brick Books Classics 3
Deluxe redesign of an aching solo situated at the mid-point of a long, melodious career.
On the occasion of the press’s 40th anniversary, Brick Books is proud to present the third of six new editions of classic books from our back catalogue. This edition of Riffs features a new introduction by the poet Paul Vermeersch, a reprint of an extended interview with Dennis Lee about the book, and a new cover and design by the renowned typographer Robert Bringhurst.
Riffs is a story of a passionate love affair, told in vintage Lee style—with whoops, deep chords, and headlong improvisational arcs. We hear Bach, Bo Diddley, Bird; the news is heartache and being. Celebratory, claustrophobic, the poem tracks ways in which eros and our lives are made mutually accountable.
Tell me what you cherish, won’t
just walk; give me lifetime,
not renege. I have no other use. Living I flubbed.
But mouth to mouth I could sometimes ache into words.
—from Riffs (#85)
Praise for Riffs:
“Riffs is the book that unites his various voices and lyrical personae. It is a book in which all of his poetic attitudes are in harmony with one another.” —Paul Vermeersch, from the Introduction.
- Contemporary Classics
Neil Querengesser, Canadian Literature, Issue 228-229 (Spring/Summer 2016)
- “The riffs themselves become the erotic fix”: A Review of Dennis Lee’s “Riffs”
Geoffrey Nilson, PRISM international, March 11, 2016
- Riffs by Dennis Lee
Jeffrey Donaldson, Letters in Canada 1993 – University of Toronto Quarterly
- How poems work – Riffs, No. 24 by Dennis Lee
Paul Vermeersch, Globe and Mail, July 28, 2001
- Open Book Recommends: 2015 Holiday Reading Guide Part Two
Open Book, December 15, 2015
About the Author
Dennis Lee has written more than twenty books of poetry, including Civil Elegies, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award, and Alligator Pie, the children’s classic. His most recent collection of poems is Testament. Brick Books published his poetry collection Riffs in 1992 and is presenting a new edition in 2015 as the Brick Books…