The Porcupinity of the Stars

Winner of the 2011 Hamilton Literary Award for Poetry!

In this much-anticipated new collection, poet and musician Gary Barwin both continues and extends the alchemical collision of language, imaginative flight and quiet beauty that have made him unique among contemporary poets. As the Utne Reader has noted, what makes this work 'so compelling is Barwin’s balance of melancholy with wide-eyed wonder.' The Porcupinity of the Stars sees the always bemused and wistful poet reaching into new and deeper territory, addressing the joys and vagaries of perception in poems touching on family, loss, wonder, and the shifting, often perplexing nature of consciousness. His Heisenbergian sensibility honed to a fine edge, the poems in this bright, bold and intensely visual book add a surreptitious intensity and wry maturity to Barwin’s trademark gifts for subtle humour, solemn delight, compassion, and invention.

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By J.A. · ★★★☆☆ · December 31, 2012
I liked the deer bits the most. And how the family was so often forested. Clever. ...more
By Ariel (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · December 07, 2010
HAMILTON writer Gary Barwin's latest collection, The Porcupinity of the Stars (Coach House Books, 96 pages, $17), is firmly in the experimental tradition.

Even though Barwin has supplemented what he calls his "old-school English language technology" (i.e. writing) with poetry-generating software,... ...more
By Mark (Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · September 03, 2011
Gary Barwin's Porcupinity of the Stars is magnificent, the product of many years working the poetry mines. These are poignant and perfectly balanced poems that lean toward the surreal. The collection is held together by a deep compassion for the human and nonhuman animal experience. The title its... ...more
By David (Racine, WI) · ★★★★☆ · December 05, 2013
I liked this collection overall. There were pieces that felt a bit throwaway or flat to me in comparison to others. However, there is so much in this collection to love. I was thinking as I read it that, had the book been split into two chapbooks, I might give one three stars while the other woul... ...more
By Stuart (Cobourg, ON, Canada) · ★★★★★ · January 16, 2011
Gary Barwin's best book of poetry so far. ...more
By Mike (Buffalo, NY) · ★★★★★ · September 24, 2012
This is a fun read.