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Poetry Canadian

Airstream Land Yacht

by (author) Ken Babstock

House of Anansi Press Inc
Initial publish date
Mar 2006
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
    List Price

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In his brilliant third collection, award-winning and critically-acclaimed poet Ken Babstock finds momentary stays against our gathering darknesses in the irrepressible, acrobatic, free play of the mind. Poems of conscience collide with the problems of consciousness, the concrete and the conceptual find equal footing, and formal beauty mixes with imagistic brinksmanship as the speaker attempts to leave our "homes half-sheathed Tyvek" and "drift into the pain of our neighbours." Like Babstock's earlier work, Airstream Land Yacht testifies to the harrowing beauty of everyday experience ("a leather recliner star /gazing on the free /side of a yard fence," "shopping /carts growing a fur of frost," a grounded kite "nose down in the crowberries and fir") while introducing an expansiveness of inquiry with linguistic bravado and a quiet grace. The clutch of love poems contained here are key to unlocking the larger collection -- itself a love song to the wordless world.

About the author

Ken Babstock won Canada’s inaugural Latner Writer’s Trust Poetry Prize in 2014 for a body of work in mid-career. His fourth collection, Methodist Hatchet (Anansi, 2011), won The Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry and was a finalist for The Trillium Book Award. His previous collections of poetry include, Mean (1999), winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Milton Acorn People's Poet Award, Days Into Flatspin (2001), winner of a K.M. Hunter Award and finalist for the Winterset Prize, and Airstream Land Yacht (2006), finalist for The Griffin Prize for Poetry, The Governor General’s Literary Award, and The Winterset Prize, and winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. His poems have won Gold at the National Magazine Awards, been widely anthologized in Canada, the UK, the US, and Ireland, most recently in The Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature in English, and translated into Dutch, German, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, and French. All five previous titles were named Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year. Recent poems have appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and in Best of The Best Of Canadian Poetry. A book length poem, On Malice, written while in Berlin as one of DAAD’s International Artist Residents in 2011/12, was published in fall 2014 by Coach House Books to wide critical acclaim. Ken Babstock was born in Newfoundland and now lives in Toronto with his son.

Ken Babstock's profile page


  • Winner, Trillium Book Award for Poetry
  • Short-listed, Winterset Award for Excellence in Newfoundland Writing
  • Long-listed, ReLit Awards - Poetry
  • Short-listed, Griffin Poetry Prize
  • Short-listed, Winterset Award for Excellence in Newfoundland Writing
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards: Poetry

Editorial Reviews

Reading Ken Babstock is like following the trunk of a tree upward as it divides and subdivides, fraying into the finest threads until a beautiful but complex circuitry webs the sky. Simply put, he makes the brain hurt, forcing us to exert that dusty 90 per cent we rarely use....a seductive, exquisitely crafted look at the overlay of the wordless visible world and the conscious act of mapping that world.

Edmonton Journal

In Babstock's work there is a sense of down-home intellectual, country tunes that David Bowie might compose.

Malahat Review of the most daring, progressive, frustrating, and exhilarating poetry books in years.

Books In Canada

...more contemplative, more world-weary, more overtly philosophical (than Mean)....the love poems in this book are a real accomplishment.

Arc Poetry Magazine

Ken Babstock is no regular middle-of-the-pack poet...there's almost a tactile pleasure in how words sound, and a multitude of striking phrases vivid to both the ear and the eye...Airstream Land Yacht is poetry that hums along in high gear.

Toronto Star

As Auden was to the English 1930's, so too is Ken Babstock to the Canadian 2000's - the key figure of the under-40's generation...perhaps the most important poetry book yet from any Canadian born in the 1970's or beyond...a hauntingly thoughtful meditation on awareness and responsibility for others.

Globe and Mail

Babstock's ear remains finely attuned. Always adept at capturing speech cadences, in these new poems he plumbs as much from the jumpy rhythms of thought, and what gets sacrificed in accessibility is more than made up for in surprise...Babstock's courageous lack of complacency in deviating so drastically from his excellent past work confirms him as one of the country's finest poets.

Quill & Quire

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