Bit Parts for Fools
Shortlisted, Archibald Lampman Award
In this lush collection of linguistic concatenations, Peter Richardson lines up the quotidian and the metaphysical, the personal and the fictional, and assigns equal standing to their rich complications. Whether his cast members take the ironic stance of an apostate jazz pianist or the hardball approach of a recovering stand-up comic, they invite us on an exuberant exploration of self that rewards multiple readings.
Ranging from a literate vernacular to high diction, the language of Bit Parts for Fools hints at a new hunger driving the poet's quirky observations and confirms once again that Richardson is a fine craftsman — all confidence and mischief, "whistling from scuffmark to scuffmark."
"This is a chameleonic book, alive with ‘ancestral transmutations’. Richardson can write of ‘a gun-toting do-gooder on a buggy’ or evoke ‘bees nesting in crags above a shoreline of dirty syringes,’ and his words summon the mouth to savor them. Richardson's wit, formal skill, and verbal ingenuity make this not only his finest achievement to date but one of the best collections of poetry to appear in recent years." — Eric Ormsby
"Bit Parts for Fools crackles with innovative language, in the deliciously quirky titles and the poems themselves: elaborate, complex, and often wonderfully ambivalent. What might happen if you invent a language and use one phrase (‘broischni hydranya’) as an incantation, or page through a very unusual ‘mourner's abecedary’ that somehow combines ‘bestiary and breviary? This uniquely disarming voice uses chance and change to provide vivid takes on past and present lives and their unpredictable circumstances." — Jan Conn
Pub date: October 1, 2013