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The Night Chorus by Harold Hoefle

9780773554924

A whistling through teeth. / He shuts his eyes but still sees / the red glow of exit signs.

Harold Hoefle’s The Night Chorus rises out of forests and country roads, bars and buses, cities and small towns. These locales are the haunts of outsiders ranging from travellers and farmers to a soldier, a drug addict, a refugee, and the murdered. The past clings in these stark, evocative poems, “memory a closet of clothes / that hang from bent wire.”

In the tradition of songwriters like Gordon Lightfoot and Gord Downie and poets such as Al Purdy, Karen Solie, and David O’Meara, The Night Chorus presents so-called “obscure” lives, where dark and playful humour collides with historic and mythic characters including Ovid and Dante, Odysseus and Desdemona. Using lyric poetry and the ghazal, the prose poem and the elegy, The Night Chorus brims with images as sharp as wild geese scrawling letters against an evening sky and as humble as “pots of plum dumplings and still-warm soup.”

Bookended by a sequence of lyrics inspired by cross-country road trips, Hoefle references iconic places like Black Dog Road and Seldom Seen and peoples the landscape with imagined characters. Their voices – damaged, rough, intimate – will echo in the reader’s mind.

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English

Poetry

2018

9780773554924

McGill-Queen's University Press

Montreal

2018

88

softcover