$19.95 CDN / $18.95 US | Trade Paperback
In Smog Mother, John Wall Barger asks: What is a poet without a home? Over and over he finds answers in the joy of duende, the goblin spirit that, as Lorca says, “will not approach at all if he does not see the possibility of death, if he is not convinced he will circle death’s house.” Ranging from an anti-government rally on the streets of Bangkok to a train trip on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, Smog Mother is the strongest collection yet from a poet writing at the height of his powers.
Praise for Smog Mother:
What a joy to have another book by John Wall Barger. Restless, passionate, and ambitious, Smog Mother is an ecstatic travelogue whose narrator is always on the move, full of yearning and curiosity, even as he remains an outsider in each country that he visits. The poems in Smog Mother ask probing questions about love and empathy, and about what it means to be a spectator to other people’s pain. Barger is introspective and self-critical, yet far more interested in others than in himself; his eye is continually drawn to the margins of society, and to those whose lives are most in danger of being forgotten or erased. A powerful collection.—James Arthur, author of The Suicide’s Son
John Wall Barger’s poems are deadly serious and absolutely precise about the world in upheaval, in desire and its excess, in love and pornography, in political protest and ecological catastrophe, in the affirming flame sought but not found. Uncompromising, riveting, a kick in the conscience and the unconscious, a wake up call even at this late point in the evening, the world about to go dark, Smog Mother is written with an infinitely sad and unforgettable pen—Indran Amirthanayagam, author of The Migrant States