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Falsework

Falsework

On June 17, 1958, Vancouver's Second Narrows Bridge collapsed while under construction, Eighteen men plunged to their deaths. On the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the disaster, critically acclaimed poet Gary Geddes provides an intimate portrait of the many lives affected by the toppling of that seemingly indomitable structure. Pairing his polyphonal narrative with grainy archival photos, Geddes displays a sure-footed authority while balancing the line between documentary and fiction. The Second Narrows collapse was real, and Geddes has a real connection to it: his father, a former navy diver, was called to the bridge to search for bodies in the wreckage. The voices that speak from the page are fiction; at times raw, occasionally profane, they ring with awful truth.
Gary Geddes was born in Vancouver and raised mostly on the west coast, where he gill netted, loaded boxcars at BC Sugar Refinery, stocked shelves at Woodwards, worked as a fishing guide at Whytecliffe, taught on Texada Island, and drove a water-taxi. After doing graduate studies at Reading University in England and at the University of Toronto, he embarked on a varied career as a writer, teacher, editor, and publisher. Gary taught for twenty years at Concordia University in Montreal before returning to the west coast, where he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University (1998-2001) and served as writer-in-residence at Green College, and the Vancouver Public Library. He has written and edited more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translation and anthologies, including 20th Century Poetry & Poetics and 15 Canadian Poets x 3. His literary awards include the E.J. Pratt Medal and Prize, the National Poetry Prize, the Americas Best Book Award in the 1985 Commonwealth Poetry Competition, National Magazine Gold Award, the Writers Choice Award, Archibald Lampman Prize, the Poetry Book Society Recommendation and the Gabriela Mistral Prize, which he shared with Nobel laureates Octavio Paz and Vaclav Havel and with Rafael Alberti, Ernesto Cardenal, and Mario Benedetti. Gary Geddes lives on Vancouver Island, where he divides his time between Victoria and French Beach.

"Meaningful." — Georgia Straight

"Geddes has imagined the voices of those most directly affected by the accident for an unusual collection of poetry, prose, and archival photos." — BC Bookworld

"This is fabulous, a wildly successful book. Gary Geddes goes to where the danger is. Falsework is a new kind of poetry of the city; at once multi-voiced, inquisitive, erotic, tragic. We dare to read our way into its epic contours." — Robert Kroetsch

"The images are so vivid, so visceral, and so primal, they keep replaying in my head like scenes from a gripping movie. Primal because they hook right into those gut-wrenching sensations: falling, entrapment, drowning, suffocation." — John Gilmore

128 pages
Pub date: September 28, 2007