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Poetry Canadian

The Hottest Summer in Recorded History

by (author) Elizabeth Bachinsky

Nightwood Editions
Initial publish date
Mar 2013
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price

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With her signature eye for irony and sensuality, Elizabeth Bachinsky's latest book of poetry, The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, balances a youthful playfulness with observational maturity. Bachinsky strings together seemingly non-sequitur images, capturing in these poems the commonality of raw intimacy, dark humour and a sense of immediacy. Her vision is unapologetically bold, finding the erotic in everyday moments and keenly capturing the complicated truths of life in a powerfully candid style.

About the author

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of three collections of poetry, Curio (BookThug, 2005), Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood, 2006), and God of Missed Connections (Nightwood, 2009). Her work was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 2006, the Kobzar Literary Award in 2009, the Pat Lowther Award in 2010, and the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, and on film in Canada, the United States, France, Ireland, England, and China. She is an instructor of creative writing at Douglas College in New Westminster where she is Poetry Editor for Event magazine.

Elizabeth Bachinsky's profile page


  • Short-listed, Pat Lowther Memorial Award

Editorial Reviews

The Hottest Summer in Recorded History includes Bachinsky's best poetry since the precocious Home of Sudden Service...She has a knack for matching cheekiness and sincerity...This book has a handful of truly superb poems, including "You Know What Readers Like," "Who loves ya, Baby?", "Dreams," "Somewhere There is Someone Waiting," and "Occasional Poem for bill bissett, August 21, 2011." More importantly, reading The Hottest Summer... is a good reminder that life, like poetry, is eminently social. As such, it requires a delicate balance of risk and care-- and, of course, dedication.
--Alessandro Porco, Open Book Toronto

...Bachinsky's The Hottest Summer in Recorded History (Nightwood) is her best work to date, and contains the exceptional and subversive poem "When I Have the Body of a Man", which should be anthologized everywhere.
--Jared Bland, The Globe and Mail

Elizabeth Bachinsky's poems from The Hottest Summer in Recorded History have a lighter touch, but draw on a similarly intensive, if playful self-consciousness, setting formal detachment and poetic "craft" ("Eliot was right, it's useless to describe a feeling") against confessions of personal investment, of getting her feelings hurt...As with her other books, Bachinsky's range of forms (from villanelle to sonnet) is impressive.
--Kevin McNeilly, Frank Styles Blog

...these are poems of intimacy, of relationships, told with concrete, straight-forward language. Candid details couple with artful wordplay: By gesturing toward an individual poetic impetus in her dedications, Bachinsky creates a strange duality: with an eye to their audience, the poems invite us into the story of their own making; however we are simultaneously made aware of a greater backstory, of moments we will always be excluded from...
--Lise Gaston, Lemon Hound

...short, declarative, and often humorous statements...spring from one line to the next and, often, from one Canadian city to the next, with an assortment of cabins, barns, and restaurants in-between. Bachinsky trades in the kind of irony that is funny, clever, and a pleasure to read.
--Taryn Hubbard, Room Magazine

Bachinsky's strength is in the way she records the vivid yet simple details of life...In such details the relationships are authenticated, and as readers we feel like we are eavesdropping on both the intimate and the ordinary--excluded from the personal experience of the memory but privy to the image and the feeling it produces. ...self-reflexivity and playfulness is at the heart of Bachinsky's collection. These poems invite us to contemplate what poetry is, who makes it, and what our expectations are as readers...
--Jennifer Delisle, Arc Magazine

...there is a method to Bachinsky's Gertrude Stein-like playing around, and it is to reclaim usually non-poetic language... Suddenly, what seemed banal becomes beautiful.
--George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald

...Bachinsky combines colloquial language with traditional create playful but also serious poetry which brings us inside the living tradition. This is up-to-the-minute poetry, complete with instant messaging, alternating between comedy and lyric, between toughness and grace.
--Judge's Comments, The Pat Lowther Award (2014)

What Bachinsky places squarely in her cross-hairs in The Hottest Summer in Recorded History is not only urban-planning run amok but the gentrification of consciousness. Just when readers find themselves getting too comfortable in a poem, out come the bull-whips and the tiny wooden armadillos, the hobbled horses and the jimmied keyholes, the plastic paparazzi playsets and the zombie finger puppets... her bursting lyricism and wide-ranging the borders between the feral, i.e. the wild, and a recycled culture so obsessed with its own past it is unable to create any new meaning.
--Chris Banks, Table Music

Reading Elizabeth Bachinsky's rollicking frolic of a collection The Hottest Summer in Recorded History is a bit like having an exciting conversation with someone new, someone you are hoping will become a friend. Bachinsky has an old crone's wisdom and a hipster lens as she pistol whips any pretensions the reader might have...Bachinsky is not shackled by structure or formality, she embraces humour and eroticism with a welcome playfulness that never undermines the serious poet underneath.
--Michael Dennis, Michael Dennis Blog

Everyday is everything at once. The Hottest Summer in Recorded History is a collection of poetry from Elizabeth Bachinsky who offers her unusual blend of opinions and insight onto the world around her, presenting honesty and humor hand in hand. The Hottest Summer in Recorded History is a strong addition to modern poetry collections.
--John Taylor, Midwest Book Review

The poems in the Hottest Summer in Recorded History are handy and necessary language adventures...There's this belligerent carnality in much of [Bachinsky's] verse. One of the back blurbs calls this "erotically ridiculous," which is probably right because that review appeared in The Globe [and Mail], but I think there is something else here...None of this is erotic, not exactly, but something in words sits between an undulating nostalgia for the illuminated thrums of the past and a profound recollection of things memorable only through simple defamiliarisation.
--Peter Babiak, subTerrain

...a Contiki tour of poetic hotspots... [The Hottest Summer in Recorded History] is an exercise in form equaling content: a poet's Holy Grail. Bachinsky lets the style of each piece speak for the setting of the poem and in doing so instills memories and emotions in her readers that would have otherwise been impossible.
--Richard Kelly Kemick, The Fiddlehead

The book as a whole is ...adept at charting [the] troubled course between the poet's personal relationships and her poetry, and between the necessary self-absorptions of the writing life and the self-effacement required to present one's writing to the public. As if energized by this challenge, the collection swerves through a virtuosic variety of moods, perspectives, modes of address, and received forms, just as individual poems move quickly and fluently through registers of irony and is this continual devotion and attention to the presence of the poem--even as the lives and loves of the poet and her circle are on display--that Bachinsky privileges and performs with artful attention. Although the book is inscribed with the dedication "To Friends," these poems will speak to almost anyone.
--Chris Hutchinson, Gulf Coast (Texas)

Poet-readers cannibalize and gobble up bits of the poet...put on Bachinsky's eyes...See that poets are people you can only know once they're gone.
--Karin Moen, filling Station

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