In No TV for Woodpeckers the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us – that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. As philosophical as it is entertaining, No TV for Woodpeckers is a complex and multi-layered work that offers an unexpected range of pleasures.
Gary Barwin, No TV for Woodpeckers (rob mclennan, rob mclennan's blog, 26/06/2017)
"No TV for Woodpeckers quickly establishes itself as a collection of poems thick with detail, distraction and play, constructed, if not to unsettle, but to keep the reader slightly off-balance, albeit through rhythm, chants and repetitions. This book requires attention, one that requires the reader to dig deep into the quick repetitions, the variations on sound and play, and thrums and twists of both language and meaning."
Barwin's Wonderous Words Exciting (Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press, 24/06/2017)
"Barwin’s poems are struck through with a wide-eyed wonder, and when they aren’t revelling in the sound of language or crafting crazed imaginings, they work to dig out the strangeness of the everyday."
Review: Kevin Connolly's Xiphoid Process, Linda Besner's Feel Happier in Nine Seconds and Gary Barwin's No TV for Woodpeckers (Derek Webster, The Globe and Mail, 16/06/2017)
"In its best pieces (including Grip, In Memoriam, the eerie Autopsy, the intriguing Foot, Gaspar and a monologue called Alien Babies), Barwin yokes his clowns to a serious chariot and arrives somewhere unique and utterly surprising."
A Review of Gary Barwin's No TV for Woodpeckers (Phillip Crymble, Hamilton Review of Books, Spring 2017 Issue)
"Again and again, Barwin shows us how charlatans, business interests, and technology come together to create cultural texts and interfaces that jam, compromise and contaminate our abilities to forge meaningful relationships with one another. But by worrying 'the empty spot' left by Ronnie Claire Edwards’ death in the same way the speaker imagines his tongue will continually return to probe the socket of his soon to be extracted tooth, something transformative takes place. What Barwin commemorates in 'The Waltons, My Tooth, and the Oral Torah,' what he elegizes, is the elegiac mode itself, and by demonstrating what language can do, he allows us to feel, if only briefly, less lost, less lonely, and less alone."
Giller nominee Gary Barwin explores language in new poetry (Barb Carey, Toronto Star, 04/20/2017)
"Barwin invites us into a strange but marvellous world of words, and it helps to keep a dictionary (or Google) handy. Often I thought that he was making up words (which he also does), only to discover that, for instance, spirketting is a nautical term and there really is a bird called the fulvous whistling-duck."
Chappy Hour (Tan Light, All Lit Up, 05/01/2017)
"ALU resident mixologist Tan is back at it again to cure you of the post-National-Poetry-Month blues with a fresh cocktail for spring and a mighty collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers by Gary Barwin (Wolsak and Wynn)."
Click here to read selected poems from No TV for Woodpeckers