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House of Anansi Press

Selected Poems 1983–2020

Written by Steven Heighton

Published April 06, 2021 | ISBN 9781487007379
POETRY / Canadian / General

Cover of Selected Poems 1983–2020

Regular price $24.95 CAD

96 pages | 8 in × 6 in
Print Format

About this book

Selected Poems 1983–2020

Steven Heighton

This collection of new and previously published poems by Steven Heighton, author of the Governor General’s Literary Award winner The Waking Comes Late, showcases a defining lyric poet of his generation.

Selected Poems 1983–2020 is Steven Heighton’s seventh volume of poetry and the first since his Governor General’s Literary Award–winning collection, The Waking Comes Late. Incorporating a grouping of previously unpublished poetry and a selection of key poems from his six previous acclaimed collections, this timely volume showcases a generational talent whose work has been described by critics as “exhilarating,” “genuine,” and “arrestingly beautiful.”

Heighton’s debut collection, Stalin’s Carnival,won the Gerald Lampert Award for Best First Book of Poetry in 1990. Subsequent books, which include bestselling novels, essays, and critical writings, confirmed Heighton as an exciting and important voice in Canadian letters. Heighton’s poetry is recognised for its technical skill and musicality, its erudition, and its empathy and unvarnished emotion.

About the Author

Steven Heighton

STEVEN HEIGHTON’s most recent books are the novel The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep (Hamish Hamilton, 2017) and the poetry collection The Waking Comes Late (House of Anansi Press, 2016), which received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. He is also the author of the novel Afterlands, which was published in six countries, was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and was a “best of year” selection from ten publications in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. The novel has also been optioned for film by Pall Grimsson and is currently in pre-production. His other poetry collections include The Ecstasy of Skeptics and The Address Book. His fiction and poetry have been translated into ten languages, have appeared in the London Review of Books, Tin House, Poetry, Brick, the Independent, the Literary Review, and The Walrus Magazine, among others; have been internationally anthologised in Best English Stories, Best American Poetry, The Minerva Book of Stories, and Best American Mystery Stories; and have won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, the Gerald Lampert Award, the K.M. Hunter Award, the P.K. Page Founders’ Award, the Petra Kenney Prize, the Air Canada Award, and four gold National Magazine Awards. In addition, Heighton has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Journey Prize, the Moth Prize, and Britain’s W.H. Smith Award. Heighton is also a fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.

Awards and Praise


Winner, Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

“A highly evolved work from a writer who, ‘in the early evening of a life,’ is a master of form and sound … From one of Canada’s finest lyricists, here are beautiful, wise poems glittering with music, echoes, and subtle rhyme.” — Miranda Pearson

“Steven Heighton’s The Waking Comes Late is a journey deepening as we read. He locates the complexities of the personal in a wide range of social issues, while playing masterfully with language, form, and tone. His stunning political poems never descend to pedantry or the prosaic. A mature work: smart, moving, inventive, original.” — Jury Citation, Governor General’s Literary Award For Poetry


Winner, P.K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry 
Winner, National Magazine Award 
Longlist, ReLit Awards 

“A supremely cohesive and coherent performance … the poems speak to (or with) readers, a rare anomaly in these times … Heighton works (and plays) with words in wondrous ways few contemporary poets even dream of attempting, let alone conquering.” — Judith Fitzgerald, Globe and Mail

“This book has tremendous range, covering subjects both personal and political, and employing forms as diverse as elegy, ballad, haiku, sonnet, and dramatic monologue … a very good collection.” — Quill & Quire

“Steven Heighton again demonstrates that he is one of Canada’s most ambitious writers.” — Winnipeg Review

“Steven Heighton continues to top his own oeuvre with Patient Frame, a sharp framing and reframing of an ever-widening poetic gaze that captures its subjects, detail after exuberant detail, at thirty images a thought.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Formally elegant and morally resonant … Full of those frissons of recognition that make reading poetry a way of reintroducing one to one’s own soul.” — Vehicule Blog

“Thematic urgency and a prevailing freshness of content and technique make Patient Frame an exciting collection.” — Foreword Reviews


“Sombre and beautiful … If you love great poetry’s centripetal intensities, you’ll have no problem with [this book] … In the book’s last section, Rimbaud’s ‘The Drunken Boat’ and fourteen other heavyweight classics are stunningly translated.” — Globe and Mail

“[An] exquisite collection … The Address Book is a portrait of an artist as an older, more experienced man, whose stories teem with enough stirring ferocity to stamp a lasting impression.” — Quill & Quire

“A rich and challenging collection … the craft is anchored securely to genuine emotion.” — Montreal Gazette

“Arrestingly beautiful and never banal … authoritative and intoxicating … stylistically and formally various … [Heighton] is a singer in an age-old tradition pursuing his serious craft.” — Journal of Canadian Poetry

“His poetry is resonant and adjectival, technically accomplished … [and] his stance is authentic … I defy anyone to read his “2001, an Elegy” and not melt over its closing lines.” — Vancouver Sun


Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

“Simply the most exciting book of poetry published this year.” — Globe and Mail

“A sensitively conceived collection strong in poetic form, lyricism and emotion … a virtuoso performance.” — Governor General’s Literary Award Jury Citation

“Heighton has an unfailing sense of rhythm and sound, and his poems surprise with their intelligence and vividness … [but] it’s the honesty in these poems that sets them apart, their open lustfulness, grief, or joy, and the ease with which Heighton contrasts this with intellectual reserve.” — Malahat Review

“A richly energetic collection.” — Stand (U.K.)

“Poems shaped by a spiritual fierceness … vivid and resonant, alive with a kind of palpable energy.” — Montreal Gazette

“The beauty of this young poet’s work … stays with you after you put down the book.” — Kingston Whig-Standard

“Exciting, complex, and often brilliant.” — The Printed Word


“Introduces a major new voice … Written in a style that is both elegant and free-flowing … Throughout Foreign Ghosts the resonances keep growing.” — Montreal Gazette


“Hearing the vibrancy and veering turns and wind-sprint syntax in these poems lit me up long before I’d begun to think through their thematic worries … This collection has ambition, crisis, honesty, music, heart-break, and beauty all placing the human voice under a severe strain, and the voice is up to it.” — Ken Babstock

Stalin’s Carnival is a collection of very powerful poems.” — Irving Layton