Primer on the Hereafter

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By: Steve McOrmond

October 2006
88 pages | ISBN 1-894987-12-8

**Winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize**

In Primer on the Hereafter, Steve McOrmond distills the fleeting beauties and lingering pains of daily life into darkly elegant, elegaic poems. Moving from rural to urban settings, considering the stars, music, and the inanimate objects that share our lives, McOrmond subtly examines concepts of home, loneliness, belonging and worth. With graceful lines he creates startling images and metaphors, where crows are "tuneless/as 10,000 cigarettes" and a young deaf couple can "hardly pay attention to what their hands are saying." This is a compelling collection - smoky and concentrated, it lingers long in the reader's mind.

"The Second Coming"

There's been some mistake and now
a crowd is gathering - honestly, you
don't deserve the keys to the city, roses
and women's underwear falling at your feet.

You're a bad haircut waiting for a bus.
You're a short order
cook at a greasy spoon, another stained shirt
hurrying to make the night shift.

You're anyone, the sum of memory:
father was a ruined pillar. Mother,
slender vine, inseparable and lonely.
Go jump in the lake - and you did.

You're a faded pair of Levi's, knees
winking at the cameras. You're the future,
neither bright nor certain. The song replaying
in your head doesn't even know its name.


Review (Gillian Harding-Russell, Prairie Fire, 7/10/2007)
"Primer on the Hereafter contains more than a few remarkable poems that strike a macabre or visceral note with an electrifying truth, and so here I would say is a poet to watch."

Primer on the Hereafter (C. Durning Carroll, Northern Poetry Review, 4/9/2007)
"The promise of Primer on the Hereafter lies in the simple and unaffected narrative voice in which McOrmond recounts his best poems. In pulling away from himself into that posture of unease that characterizes so many good writers, McOrmond finds in this collection, ocassional moments of sublimity."

Review (Jason Rotstein, Vallum, 3/26/2007)
“I like Steve McOrmond’s pacing. His work reminds me of some of the more serious sides of Actualism or of the uptown side of the NY School’s later generations.”

Primer on the hereafter (rob mclennan, rob mclennan's blog, 12/19/2006)
"In his second poetry collection, Primer on the hereafter, Toronto poet Steve McOrmond follows the craft established in his first, Lean Days (Toronto ON: Wolsak & Wynn, ), carving out a collection of clean and precise poems."

Other Titles by Steve McOrmond

Lean Days (2004)

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