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Benjamin Hertwig -- Book Launch

Friday Oct 06 2017 7:30 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Travel Alcove

Winnipeg launch of Slow War (McGill-Queen's University Press) featuring guest reader Lisa Pasold, author of The Riparian (Frontenac House).

Benjamin Hertwig’s debut collection of poetry is at once an account of contemporary warfare and a personal journey of loss and the search for healing. It stands in the tradition of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” and Kevin Powers’s “Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting.”

A century after the First World War, Hertwig presents both the personal cost of war and the potential for healing in unlikely places in the pages of this work. This collection provides no easy answers - Hertwig looks at the war in Afghanistan with the unflinching gaze of a soldier and the sustained attention of a poet. Hertwig reminds us that remembering war is a political act and that writing about war is a way we remember.

Benjamin Hertwig is a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, a painter, and a PhD student at the University of British Columbia whose writing has recently appeared on NPR, in the New York Times, and won a National Magazine Award in 2017.

Lisa PasoldGuest reader Lisa Pasold is a novelist, journalist and poet. Her 2012 book of poetry, Any Bright Horse was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. Lisa is the host and co-writer of Discovery World’s travel program Paris Next Stop. In the course of research, Lisa has been thrown off a train in Belarus, has eaten the world’s best pigeon pie in Marrakech, and been cheated in the Venetian gambling halls of Ca’Vendramin Calergi.

Her fifth book, The Riparian, ‘is a dangerous shimmering chimeric space where “Things broken wash up.” “Did you expect,” a bartender asks, “a constant party here in the drowned city of the joyful damned?” Pasold strikes a meticulous balance between the hideous and the sublime. This is a Trump-era epic, an x-ray of a city’s grit and shit and sorrow. It is a song with a love story and thirty tragedies, overheard on a piano “dismantled, marooned, / With the river washing through its exposed strings.”’ - John Wall Barger

See:

Slow War

- Trade paperback

by Benjamin Hertwig - $16.95 - Add to Cart

Benjamin Hertwig's debut collection of poetry, Slow War, is at once an account of contemporary warfare and a personal journey of loss and the search for healing. It stands in the tradition of Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" and Kevin Powers's "Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting." A century after the First World War, Hertwig presents both the personal cost of war in poems such as "Somewhere in Flanders/Afghanistan" and "Food Habits of Coyotes, as Determined by Examination of Stomach Contents," and the potential for healing in unlikely places in "A Poem Is Not Guantánamo Bay." This collection provides no easy answers - Hertwig looks at the war in Afghanistan with the unflinching gaze of a soldier and the sustained attention of a poet. In his accounting of warfare and its difficult aftermath on the homefront, the personal becomes political. While these poems inhabit both experimental and traditional forms, the breakdown of language channels a descent into violence and an ascent into a future that no longer feels certain, where history and trauma are forever intertwined. Hertwig reminds us that remembering war is a political act and that writing about war is a way we remember.

The Riparian

- Trade paperback

by Lisa Pasold - $19.95 - Add to Cart

The Riparian is a dangerous shimmering chimeric space where "Things broken wash up." "Did you expect," a bartender asks, "a constant party here in the drowned city of the joyful damned?" Pasold strikes a meticulous balance between the hideous and the sublime: suddenly - among water rats, spit, semen, pubic hair, hurt dogs, and missing persons - there is a sparrow, or a drag queen in a 70s movie poster rock star candy wig. This is a Trump-era epic, an x-ray of a city's grit, shit, and sorrow. It is a song with a love story and thirty tragedies, overheard on a piano "dismantled, marooned, / With the river washing through its exposed strings." ~ John Wall Barger, author of "The Book of Festus."