Riffs is the story of a passionate love affair, told in vintage Lee style - with whoops, deep chords, and headlong improvisational arcs. We hear Bach, Bo Diddley, Bird; the news is heartache and being. Celebratory, catastrophic, the poem tracks ways in which eros and our lives are made mutually accountable. Riffs is a landmark achievement from the poet of Civil Elegies and The Gods.
"This is a grown-up voice, a voice of gritty honesty, of integrity ... we are taken along for the ride in an entirely convincing, captivating way." -- Quill & Quire
"Cool cat, hot Riffs ... It's the jazzy song of a word-lover ... It's a slim, accessible paperback whose jazzy cover is like the opening blast of the syncopated, reckless, apparently impulsive writing within."--The Globe and Mail
"Lee's driving energy and faultless craft make Riffs an unusually easy book of poems to read. And while it sometimes indulges in pure headlong excitement at the expense of deeper emotion, it also swirls into little eddies of complex, original beauty. Its climax is deeply moving, with its reverberant image of dolphins arcing over a silver sea."--Maclean's
"The poems in Riffs are honest, passionate and full of insight. Their masterful rhythms and melodies re-establish Lee as one of the countries great poets."--The Montreal Gazette"
... Impossible to put down. Lee has a way of making language seem inevitable ... Whether the emotional moment swoops or falls, we are taken along for the ride in an entirely convincing, captivating way ... one of the finest poets in the English language."--Quill and Quire
"Lee resurrects the music of Dylan Thomas, the wordplay of e.e. cummings, the zany delight of his own Alligator Pie."--The Ottawa Citizen
"Poet Dennis Lee may add love-junkie beatnik of distinction to his long list of credentials."--NOW Magazine