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Kevin Connolly is a poet, editor and arts journalist. His first collection of poems, Asphalt Cigar, was published by Coach House Press in 1995 and nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Connolly’s second collection, Happy/and, was published by ECW Press in 2002. His most recent collection, Drift, was published by House of Anansi Press in 2005, and won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. Kevin Connolly lives with his partner, the novelist Gil Adamson, in Toronto.

Revolver

House of Anansi
2009 Shortlist
Canada

Judges’ Citation

It’s a courageous poetic stance, to leave yourself and your reader painted into a corner. But there’s a door behind you you won’t find until you’re pressed up against it, and in this superb collection, Connolly shoves you through that door and out into naked space.

What sort of warning is being sounded in a book where the table of contents is fictional? Perhaps that the signs are not to be trusted; that you are going to have to find your own way. Such is the promise of the work of Kevin Connolly, one of Canada’s most profoundly engaged and rewarding poets. Revolver, his fourth collection, finds him deep in the territory he has made his own: the dark place where we attempt to make sense of the noise we’ve been making and the sounds coming from others. Through a multiplicity of voices and attacks, maskings and menacings, Connolly conducts an existential research that only pretends to be jokey, only feints at absurdity. But this is not a light-hearted poetry of effects: it’s a kind of stand-up comedy done with a flame-thrower. In Revolver, Connolly works subtexts of suspicion, rejecting everything received and shaking the forms to get them to reveal what there is no language for, yet. ‘People like people who stand for things’, he writes, suggesting it’s a misplaced faith, to put your trust in anything you can define. It’s a courageous poetic stance, to leave yourself and your reader painted into a corner. But there’s a door behind you you won’t find until you’re pressed up against it, and in this superb collection, Connolly shoves you through that door and out into naked space.