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Poetry Canadian

The White Light of Tomorrow

by (author) Russell Thornton

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

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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A masterful new collection from award-winning poet Russell Thornton.

With intense lyricism, Thornton records his imaginative movement between the element of water, waking to “the aloneness of water,” and the phenomenon of light, comprehending “light” as “fate” and “love” as “memory of light.” In the process, Thornton highlights how hard lives can manifest beauty and affirmation. A mother transcends degrading circumstances through laughter. A long-lost father’s drafting set case is a “coffin,” its tools a “skeleton;” his “ashes are buried” in the poet’s “arm.”

Revelations of nature abound. Thornton’s rainy locale lifts onto the mythical level, water “wrapping around” him, “holding” him “complete / as within womb water about to break.” Herons’ wings “span the countless characters” of a creek.” A description of an ancient BC site is a rapt engagement with Indigenous petroglyphs. An exploration of a Song of Songs passage details “light … one with turns of the yarn” of a shawl, “a touch within a touch.” Classical myth informs a poem about a power outage; the speaker enters “the elsewhere of the night” to build a fire.

Passionate and moving, this collection marks a fine advance in Thornton’s expanding poetic output.

About the author

Russell Thornton's books include The Fifth Window, A Tunisian Notebook, House Built of Rain (shortlisted for the BC Book Prizes' Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the ReLit Award for poetry), The Human Shore, and his latest collection, Birds, Metals, Stones and Rain. He won the League of Canadian Poets National Contest in 2000 and The Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize in 2009. His poetry has appeared in several anthologies, among them Rocksalt: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, Open Wide A Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems, the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2011 Anthology, and Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012. His poems have twice been featured on Vancouver buses as part of BC's Poetry in Transit. For several years he divided his life between Vancouver and Aberystwyth, Wales, and then Salonica, Greece. For the past number of years he has lived where he was born and grew up, in North Vancouver.

Russell Thornton's profile page