About this book
John Thompson • Rob Winger
Originally published in 1978, Stilt Jack is a series of powerful soliloquies on the complexity of love and the process of living. These are made immediate through Thompson’s command of metaphor, his eye for the New Brunswick landscape, his intense, often elliptical way of transfiguring everyday things into shorthand symbols of reality. This remarkable sequence of poems is based on the ghazal, an ancient Persian poetic form which is discussed in Thompson’s introduction to the original edition of the book.
These poems more than fulfill the promise of Thompson’s first collection, At the Edge of the Chopping There Are No Secrets. Stilt Jack is the last testament of a major poet at the pinnacle of his craft.
About the Creators
JOHN THOMPSON (1938–76) was one of the most acclaimed Canadian poets of the twentieth century. Born and raised in England, he received a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Michigan State University before moving to Canada to teach at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. His first collection, At the Edge of the Chopping There Are No Secrets, was published in 1973, and his second, Stilt Jack, appeared posthumously in 1978.
ROB WINGER is the author of three poetry collections: Muybridge’s Horse, which was a Globe and Mail Best Book, the winner of the CBC Literary Prize, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ottawa Book Award, and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry,; The Chimney Stone; and Old Hat. Born and raised in Ontario, Rob currently lives in the hills northeast of Toronto, where he teaches at Trent University.
Awards and Praise
PRAISE FOR JOHN THOMPSON AND STILT JACK:
? “A world of essence, primitive and chaotic, made of earth, air, fire, and waters . . . spilt blood, split woods; cries, horses, fish; Anabasis half begun, half finished in the New Brunswick woods . . . Poetry so unique as to be beyond ‘originality.’” — A. J. M. Smith
? “In the last years of his life, apparently, John Thompson craved a poetry of extremis, of damnation. That implacable mystique has taken hold of poets from Baudelaire to John Berryman; Thompson’s surrender to it, in Stilt Jack, is an arresting performance of the part. And a deeply troubling one.” — Dennis Lee
PRAISE FOR JOHN THOMPSON:
? “John Thompson searched deeply among humanity’s most hidden places and brought back to us poems of remarkable beauty. The uncollected poems and translations only add to the greatness of his gift. No one who reads his life’s work can go away unchanged.” — Patrick Lane, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award
? “What lasts, words like hooks to catch trout, love that got away.” — D. G. Jones, author of Under the Thunder the Flowers Light up the Earth