JACK is a collection about loss, and how its various speakers deal with loss through addiction. Whether that addiction is alcohol, drugs, sex, love, or an inability to deny the past, these are narrative poems that reconsider the method in which the desperate periphery manage the minutiae of existence. Set against the backdrop of a distilled urban landscape, the speakers in JACK find themselves lost in the bars, bottles and back alleys of their narratives. The result is a dark, acerbic, honest, and humorous collection that challenges the way we read poetry.
isbn: 9780973943870 / 0973943874 | 10.00 | 4.75 x 7 inches | 76 pages | 2008
Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 Quebec Writers’ Federation A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011). He lives in Toronto. He can be found at mikespry.org.
Praise for Mike Spry’s Writing
“…the book emerges into an unexpected maturity…[and] the work evolves into a more knowing set of poems” – Broken Pencil
“These poems aren’t avant-garde exercise routines. They’re funny… A series of meditations involving a breakup, brutal self-mockery, and sardonic moping over imaginary photographs? You mean, there’s unrest in—Ottawa?” – Utne Reader
“…fresh and mean.” – Blake Butler, No One Does That
“…the makings of classic Canadiana.” – Vallum
“…a more obsessive, quirky, and pop-cultured version of Charles Bukowski. Wher Bukowski slaps the prostitute, Spry hires her as his therapist. Where Al Purdy conjures yellow flowers and bar fights at the Quinte Hotel, Spry invokes cans of fifty and a tortured libido in a lonely apartment. I don’t make these comparisons lightly; JACK fits into a poetic tradition of epic masculine (and particularly North American) longing, and does so with a deftness of emotion and specificity of image that places Spry on par with such predecessors.” – Vallum
“…a voice that crackles with biting humour and refreshingly straightforward fury…Spry is consistently capable of achieving levels of raw honesty rarely seen in the work of more seasoned poets.” – The Montreal Gazette
“Jack is fiercely anti-poetic, anti-poignant, anti-comfort. You’ll want to hate this book. You’ll think of it as your dirty little secret. The sheer nerve of the writing will prompt you to embarrass yourself, admit to feelings you thought you’d worked through in therapy. There is a bold futility, a stupidity, and in the end an earnestness that makes this book super human…. Rude, rambunctious and abrasive, this is poetry that forgets to be careful, forgets it’s not alone, forgets the polite company that swarms poetic ventures, shouts “BUZZ OFF” the way a best friend might.” – QWF Jurors’ Comments
“…a whip-fast wit that can find the surreal edge of any situation.” – Open Book Toronto