A best-of collection from one of Canada’s most ambitious poets
Problematica — a scientific term used to describe species that defy classification. See unidentifiable.
George Murray is a strange beast. Lauded as one of Canada’s leading poets, his work has been published around the world, but here at home, he has never really “fit in” with his contemporaries. By turns archly formal and thoughtful, insouciant and hilarious, each of his six books seems intent on staking out its own identity, standing alone in stark contrast to all others.
Yet, in this judicious selection of new and selected poems spanning Murray’s 25-year career, we see threads and patterns emerge like fractals. From early narrative poems to lyrical explorations of the metaphysical to investigations of the colloquial and contemporary, Murray’s work roams a landscape that includes everything from happiness to regret, love to loss, doubt to faith, anxiety to acceptance.
This collection not only represents the best of Murray’s earlier poems, but also surprises readers with a section of never-before-seen new work, revealing a life spent wrestling with what it means to arrive, live, and leave. Problematica is a considerable body of poetry from a mind that obsessively wanders the edges of thought and language, working to identify what boundaries may or may not exist.
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George Murray is the award-winning author of eight books of poems and aphorisms as well as a book for children. His poems have appeared in magazines and journals around the world. He grew up in rural Ontario and has spent time abroad in Italy, Mexico, and New York City but now calls St. John’s, Newfoundland, his home.
Published: September 2021
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“Problematica is Murray’s radiant invitation to come into the wild arena where language reveals the world page-by-dogged-page. Murray’s poetic thermometer is all the seasons at once. This creaturely feat is the work of an unusual imagination that moves endlessly from ruin to the sublime. Take this record of a poet long at work with you the next time you go to wonder. It is a masterwork of clarity, depth and delight.” — Canisia Lubrin, author of The Dyzgraphxst
“George Murray’s imagination is audacious, astonishing. In his poems, a keen awareness of the interiority of others, the ridiculous passage of time, and the untameable but wounded wildness of language are not subject matter but cardinal points. Reading through his new and selected, it’s obvious Murray has never hitched his work to any bandwagon. This freedom is intoxicating, instructive. He’s an innovative sonneteer. (Thought-rhyme!) He writes hashtag poems — the best I’ve read. I believe contemporary Canadian poets are writing some of the most exciting poetry around. Without a doubt, George Murray is one of those poets.” — Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine