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The Reinvention of the Human Hand

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  26 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Paul Vermeersch’s new poems give a present-day voice to primitive song, and restore to us a dawn-time severity that cuts through modern evasions. They go beyond sophistication to reveal the passionate and suffering animal within. The Reinvention of the Human Hand is a poetry of the human body’s experience, of a primal being that struggles to assert itself, or perhaps just ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-45)
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Matthew
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Ten years after the twin furies
of poor visibility and clouded
judgement curled their foggy
fingers under the chrome and
plastic bumper of her SUV
and rolled it half a dozen times
down a stretch of country road,
the process is almost complete.

The reinvention of the human hand
takes time. The failed attempts:
a forked stick, a dog's mouth, a monkey's paw.
But now electric substitutes for nerves
implanted in her skin replace
the once-sparking tresses of her brain,
long since cropped at the neck,
locking her a
...more
Alexis
Feb 04, 2011 added it
Shelves: 2011
Gorgeous collection of poems. I really liked the history in some of these pieces and the narrative theme about apes. My favourite poems in this book were the poems about the Looney Tunes characters. Some very creative work in here.
Heather Clitheroe
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
The poem about werewolves is awesome. (The rest of the collection is great, too.)
Peter Darbyshire
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The perfect set of poems to read when you're holding a newborn in your arms and thinking about the future.
Justin Deveau
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The first piece was my favorite by far. The rest of the book was good. Some really nice imagery but just did not quite grab me as much as the author's opener.
Stephen Wong
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of concise poetry. Some of the works indulge in a shared experience of media, technology and gameplay. The book is an important marker for how the poetic imagination reinvents all that has come to pass in the private-is-public media ecology of our recent times. No more a "making sense of" than a "re-sensing" of particular events (for example, of the first dog in outer space, or of the girl with the transplanted baboon heart, and so on), the reader is made aware of the ref ...more
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“Lost Things"

There are many ways to understand the word
lost, my love. When you were born, the last
Pyrenean ibex, a tawny female named Celia,
had not yet lived to see the view from Torla
overlooking Monte Perdido, but her great-
grandsire stood on the cliffs of Ordesa,
positioned on hoof-tips dainty as dimes,
and he shook his impregnable skull, a coffer
of brass and nobility crowned with bayonets,
as though in defiance of all who dwelt
in the highlands from Catalonia to Aquataine.
Their kind is vanished now. Forever lost. Perdido.

And when you dressed in a Girl Guide’s
uniform of Persian blue on Tuesday nights,
my love, in the long-lost basement of Grace
United Church, to play indoor baseball
and make believe that faerie magic
could make you rich or important or happy,
pods of baiji dolphins still swam in a river
you’d never heard of and would not think about
until years later, when together we would learn
from the evening news that the baiji
were lost, at last, from the Yangtze,
and in their place there came a universal emptiness.

There are many ways to understand the word
lost, but it does not help to imagine a secret
place where lost things go. When last
I held you in my arms, my love, the West
African black rhinoceros was still magnificent
and still alive, but now the gentleness of your breath
on my bare neck is as lost as the dusty, confident
snort of that once breath-taking beast. Great strength
is no protection, and neither is love. We are born,
and our births are lost. We can’t go back to them.
Each embrace ends with an ending. When we become,
what we once thought we’d be is lost. We keep becoming.”
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