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Poetry Nature

The Ridge

by (author) Robert Bringhurst

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Nature, Canadian, Places
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A new collection from one of Canada’s finest contemporary poets.

In The Ridge, Robert Bringhurst offers a work of nonfiction in poetic form, intensely focused on the ecological past, present and future of the West Coast of Canada.

At the book’s heart is a long poem, “The Ridge,” in which Bringhurst makes meticulous use of scientific language and, with a poet’s perspective and precision, translates abstract concepts into tangible and devastating imagery. Global energy consumption is measured in cords of wood instead of BTUs or megawatts; subatomic particles demarcating time and space are prayer flags tearing free in the slow destruction of the solar system. In dazzling prose that weaves together the physical and the metaphysical, Bringhurst shifts his attention from tiny spores to fish farms, the spirit world, telescopes and epistemology.

Beautiful, profound and insightful, The Ridge reflects the author’s reputation as one of Canada’s most esteemed poets.

About the author

Robert Bringhurst is a poet, typographer and linguist, well known for his award-winning translations of the Haida storytellers Skaay and Ghandl, and for his translations of the early Greek philosopher-poet Parmenides. His manual The Elements of Typographic Style has itself been translated into ten languages and is now one of the world’s most influential texts on typographic design. Among his most recent publications is a pair of essay collections, The Tree of Meaning (GP, 2006) and Everywhere Being is Dancing (GP, 2007). Bringhurst lives on Quadra Island, off the British Columbia coast.

Robert Bringhurst's profile page


  • Short-listed, Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

Editorial Reviews

“Robert Bringhurst is often referred to as a Renaissance man. [He] is also a unique poet who takes plain English and bends and shapes it like a musician, creating an original verse that cannot be classified but reads splendidly and is not aiming at pleasing anybody. He is a solitary artist and thinker who’s in touch with almost everything.”

Gary Snyder

“Bringhurst’s achievement is gigantic, as well as heroic.”

Margaret Atwood, <i>The Times (London)</i>

“Occasionally, but rarely, in my lifetime I’ve come across [an] intelligence whom I can fairly describe by the word genius. George Steiner, Roberto Calasso, and Walter Benjamin come to mind … and now I must add Robert Bringhurst…. Bringhurst is the logical fruition of many of the ideas to be read about in Gary Snyder’s The Practice of the Wild…. The peculiar, very difficult genius of Bringhurst is in the news he brings back from his forays into unknown country. When you begin reading you’re not sure this country exists because it has a shape no cartographer can parse. Dreams and poetry emerge from this landscape…. [His] early training in the sciences is evident, as is his foremost vocation as a poet, though he certainly can’t be piecemealed…. To read Bringhurst is to discover an unknown spring or deep creek way back in the forest.”

Jim Harrison

“Bringhurst, I believe, is one of the country’s literary treasures, quite possibly a genius.”

Noah Richler, author of <i>This Is My Country, What’s Yours?</i>

“Robert Bringhurst comes to us like night lightning: the dark is suddenly lit by language beautifully crafted and by riveting thought. He writes for the eye, the ear, and the mind all at once, and he doesn’t waste a sentence. His insights into story are engaging, the range of his imagination impressive, his tone friendly. Like Gary Snyder, he is a polymath whose particular convergence of knowledge is unique and whose ability to convey knowledge about subjects as diverse as classical music and Native American thought is singular.”

Barry Lopez

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