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photo by Wendy Lee
Impossible Landscapes
Poems Narrative and Lyrical
by Tony Steele

Release: May 2005
All rights available
poetry (BISAC: POE011000)
77 pp / 5.5 x 8.5 / trade paper
ISBN 978-1-55391-037-4 or 1-55391-037-0

“Tony Steele’s poems are cozy and personal, and he creates an intimate sense of place. He has the ability to make you feel at ease in one of his poems. His writing about California evokes an affection for everything that is off kilter in human relationships. These are poems to be accompanied with a good wine.”
—Ross Leckie, author of Gravity’s Plumb Line

“The abrupt, threatening, beautiful Santa Ynez mountains and the gentle, dangerous Santa Barbara Channel shoreline were getting into his Eastern bloodstream, and the Guerrero poems show them still pumping in it, surging through an extra-realistic, political narrative of a future US Civil War. Throughout his career this longtime Canadian has continued to write poems that pay exact attention to every landscape, geographical and spiritual.”
—John Ridland, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara

Impossible Landscapes includes recent works plus selections from earlier volumes. The poems come in four sections: Impossible Landscapes; the saga of the semi-mythical Guerrero; Other Landscapes (including some song lyrics); and Border Crossings, which voyages widely in time and space. A living descendent of the Imagists, Steele avoids decoration and abstraction. The landscapes are as much mental as physical, and always there is someone or something missing in them.

“Most of these pieces were written in Fredericton or Winnipeg. Many were workshopped at the Ice House, during the last decade. My intention has always been a marriage of realism and metaphor. My political aim has been to locate myself (especially in the “Guerrero” poems) in the actual post-colonial world. I have been inspired by a variety of often contradictory poets: Wordsworth, Yvor Winters, Gary Snyder, Wallace Stevens, Billy Collins, Sir Philip Sidney . . .”
—Tony Steele

The Walking Bridges at Fredericton

we roll over the Saint John
over that vastness of regattas
under the central suicide arch
look upstream at the old bridge
with eddies swirling around its derelict butts
with their nests of swallows—
on either side
upstart and weathering villages

but on the bridge over the Nashwaak
still untamed with its brackish water
and brown weeds below the surface

we park our bikes and lean our heads
out over the edge of this slim passage
from one emptiness to another

Tony Steele was born in Detroit, studied at Berkeley, Wayne State, and the University of California at Santa Barbara (PhD). He has also lived in San Francisco, Victoria, BC, Winnipeg, MB (where he was an English professor for 30 years), and now in Fredericton, New Brunswick (where he is a part-time teacher, writer, and John Howard Society volunteer). He has been associated with the Ice House Poetry Group since it was re-instituted five years ago. He is the author of four poetry books: A Slanting Line, The Dance of the Minotaur, The Dancer, and Impossible Landscapes.

Cover art by Jacob Steele, Vancouver, BC.

• Readings tour: Halifax, Fredericton, Winnipeg, etc.
• ads in Prairie Books Now, Atlantic Books Today, etc.
• national media and review copy mailout

Book events
• 5 May 2005, 7 pm: book launch— Westminster Books, 445 King St, Fredericton, NB.

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© copyright Joe Blades/Broken Jaw Press Inc. 2004.