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Brian Henderson : Comments by Writers and Critics

Selected Comments

Brian Henderson... is a poet to savour and to watch.
                     —Marian Engel, The Globe and Mail

Migration of Light is a fine collection of poems, certainly one of the best I've read in a long while.
                     —Gwendolyn MacEwen, The Globe and Mail

Brian Henderson... is a writer of broad and inclusive vision with intellectual energy and the poetic sensibility to give shape to that vision... He puts on a dazzling display.
                     —John Cook, Canadian Forum

What a wonderful book [Year Zero] this is! Henderson tells the old story how dear ones die, and new lives come to be. In a world that's dense, opaque, yet lit with random hints of something being uttered. The result is a marvel of passionate, glancing eloquence. I wanted it never to end.
                     —Dennis Lee

[Henderson's] poetic-analytic use of language is inventive, original and capable of much sudden beauty....The result is... to produce, not a lyrical, but rather a very disturbing and conceptual poetry.
                     —John Bruce, Brick (re: Expanding Room and Viridical Book)

Henderson discovers a poetry of immensely powerful positive denials. Sex and suicide, the tension of perceptual feeling, the fragmentary articulation of how "this moment" of connection or disconnection impinges on the senses — again and again Henderson finds the words and rhythms to invoke experience....Henderson's poems articulate mystery by allowing it remain mystery — clearly seen, and outlined in the poems, but beyond analysis, finally simply there to be said (to be seen) as sharply as possible.
                     —Douglas Barbour, Canadian Poetry Chronicle (re: Migration of Light)

In these sensitive and beautifully crafted poems, Brian Henderson examines the mystery of subject and object, self and world....The poems sparkle with bright, sensual images...and everywhere affirm the beauty and enigma of being.
                     —Gwendolyn MacEwen, back cover, Migration of Light

These are love poems of a kind we have not had, at least in English. This is poetry. It is, I think, an event.
                     —D.G. Jones, back cover, Migration of Light

Brian Henderson, in his looking at nature and love, combines the exactness of 20/20 vision with the vision of the seer-sayer.
                     —Robert Kroetsch, back cover, Migration of Light

This is a dream book, with images that tear the sensibilities.... Henderson is inventing the future: it is a place of contradiction and paradox, of light and dark, with bipolar forces at war.
                     —Bob Lincoln, CBRA (re: Smoking Mirror)

This is certainly a poetry of a magnitude and import similar to, say, Don Domanski's or Louise Gluck's....Very accomplished, this, and elegant to read aloud.
                     —Phil Hall, BIC (re: Smoking Mirror)

[Henderson's] poems are intensely personal, ranging in emotion from the the ecstatic.... His skill with words is commendable; vivid metaphors abound.
                     —Edward L. Edmonds, Canadian Book Review Annual (re: Year Zero)

Brian Henderson's latest offering in that richly varied poetic career of his, spins untold gems of wisdom out of a thick brocade of birds and butterflies, eclipses and mystical states of mind.... These poems blow across the mind when you read them slowly, inviting shadows, glimmers, huge unfinished connections with higher powers.
                     —Weyman Chan, Dandelion, Vol. 23, No. 1 (re: Year Zero)

Henderson's work is affecting...and the elegies and welcomings here make up a wonderful book.
                     —Jennifer Keene, Malahat, #113 (re: Year Zero)

Year Zero is a beautifully balanced reflection on...two poles of human existence [death and birth].Henderson's exquisitely cadenced, clean, spare lines are nonetheless filled with concrete, sensual reality.
                     —Rhea Tregebov, Quill and Quire, Oct. '95

There is a sculpted, perhaps carved quality to these poems....Henderson's pain when faced with so much grief is startlingly convincing, as is his awe at the birth of a baby. the imagery is often surprising, always exacting. The emotions are raw, powerful, devoid of all sentimentality.
                     —Maryleah Otto, CM: Canadian Review of Materials, Vol.II, No. 28, April 26, 1996 (re: Year Zero)

What a wonderful book this is!...a marvel of passionate, glancing eloquence.
                     —Dennis Lee, back cover, Year Zero

Every poem is so good I can find no favourites. Yet there is no repetition. Every time he does something new. This is one of the best books of poetry I have read in some time.
                     —M. Travis Lane, Canadian Literature, Number 155, Spring 1997 (Re: Year Zero)

...Explores with extraordinary depth and intimacy the boundary line joining the creation and loss of life, affirming the "insistence of things" in a language that transcends the differences between thought and feeling, word and thing.
                     —Glenn Wilmott, Journal of Canadian Poetry (Re: Year Zero)

...[T]he energy of change runs through [the pieces] so that one loses the sense of individual poems and the book becomes a long musing on the nature of change itself....The poems themselves are intensely aware [and are] capable of... astonishingly beautiful images. This is a mesmerizing book.
                     —M.E. Csamer, (Re: Light in Dark Objects)

Brian Henderson's works copyright © to the author.

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