Award-winning poet Barry Dempster’s latest collection embraces the fragility of life and the bitterness of endings. Ghosts of his father and mother haunt the pages and friends face battles with cancer, some losing, some not, while the poet himself is all too aware of the passage of time on his own frame. This is not a gentle book, but in his wrestling with death Dempster gives voice to the pain that many others have felt. Yet with his deft turn of phrase and fresh imagery he also startles his readers, and leaves them questioning their own expectations of life and its alternative.
Review (Kimmy Beach, Freefall, 01/01/2013)
"Dempster’s skill is such that he can take the oldest story on the earth – the loss of people we love – and make you feel like you’re reading it for the first time. He tears you apart, brings you to tears and makes you laugh: sometimes all on the same page.”
Review (Elizabeth Greene, Prairie Fire Review of Books, 03/07/2012)
"This book is exceptional – carefully structured, beautifully written without a false word, taking us face to face with illness, death and grief, and turning back at points, to life. By the end, we have experienced the other world without ever leaving the poet’s home territory north of Toronto."
Review (Anne Burke, The Prairie Journal, 12/1/2011).
“His tone is realistic, ironic, and somewhat cynical.”
Dying a Little
Read an excerpt from Barry Dempster's Dying a Little