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Killdeer: Essay-Poems

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Poetry. These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes. These are essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue. Hall is a surruralist (rural and surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Book Thug

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James Murphy
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Killdeer is poetry about writing. The central metaphor of the title is of the winter and of the season's totem bird, the killdeer, who feigns injury to lure other animals away from their nests in order to raid it while the animal is away. A writer in Hall's world is a killdeer.

What's most interesting about these poems is the structure. These are called essay-poems because they're extended contemplations on their subject. The average length of the poems is almost 9 pages of long wraparound lines.
Khashayar Mohammadi
"To perform for praise - to get strokes - applause - but the poem drowns in apple sauce - lacklustre

At the open mike - a young woman chanting to a humming dildo - young men who need therapy for their misogyny - not praise for their anger

To Hear - sprites & hooks (Islands of repair) - between each syllable - cleanly - without the static of ambition

Hope becomes the expectation of finding next an intricately imperfect process that might prove all of one's own imperfections worthy &
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Are Canada’s poets getting old? I feel like so many poetry collections I read lately or nostalgic ruminations on the poet’s development. I’m certainly not complaining – I enjoy a good Prelude as well as anyone – I’m just making an observation after reading Phil Hall’s wonderful GG Award winning Killdeer: Essay-Poems from BookThug. These poems, most of which have been published in some form elsewhere, collected together constitute a reflection not only on Hall’s development in life and poetry but ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the first few pages I could tell that I was going to love Hall's collection of essay-poems. I loved his cheeky prose-poem style, and his ability to make fun of things while doing them. Like his poem "Bad Sequence" in which he criticizes list and sequence poems in the form of a list poem. I also loved "Becoming a Poet", in which he shares loving and irreverent stories about his claimed poetic family, including an episode where he decides to meet Margaret Lawrence and knocks on her door ...more
Lorne Daniel
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a risk-taking book that challenges much of what poetry has been all about in recent years. Phil Hall gets personal while also reminding the reader to always beware of a poet's purported honesty. He delivers astute one-line analyses of other writers' work. And the Killdeer metaphor is perfect for what a writer does - the bird that feigns injury to distract you away from something more important. A rewarding read.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Phil Hall creates poetic analysis through a terse autobiographical package that you open like a jack-in-a-box. His sharp insights into the impediments of the culture of academia, the creative writing school and the illogic of false poetics are a motley jester. You should have known better. Don't spoil yourself for love with self-love. Phil Hall is good.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Phil Hall welcomes us into his progress and process as a poet in a fascinating and often intimate fashion. He classifies this as a collection of essay-poems, but however you choose to receive it, Killdeer offers arresting storytelling.
Carol Stephen
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I understand now why Phil Hall refers to these as essay poems: part memoir, part musings, part poems, with commentary on poetics threaded throughout. Killdeer stretches. A fascinating read, and deserving of its Governor General's Award. Recommended!
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
A little too......wordy?
Emily Andrews
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
another masterpiece.
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