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In the Scaffolding

In the Scaffolding

Readers and critics who warmed to the fine intelligence of his debut collection will be astonished and delighted to see how much Eric Miller has matured as a poet in the six years since Song of the Vulgar Starling first appeared in 1999. In the beautifully constructed and perceptive poems of his new collection, In the Scaffolding, Miller moves fluidly from one delight to another. Fatherhood and the imagined world of the infant, the overabundant complexity of Nature, the mind's endless curiosity, and the inner life of birds are just some of the topics that fall under the lens of this versatile and vibrant poet.

Governor General's Award nominee Lynn Davies says that Miller's work shows "how words can move us into the process of recognition." With his long, floating rhapsodic sentences and exquisite metaphorical structures, Miller has often been compared with the great Romantic poet Shelley. Certainly few writers today can match his gifts for expressive language and surprising poetic rhythms.


Eric Miller is a professor of 18th-century literature at the University of Victoria and a poetry editor at the Malahat Review, having studied at universities in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He is a polymath, with fluency in a number of languages, a thorough knowledge of Latin and classical history, a detailed knowledge of the biological science of birds, and an astonishing breadth of reading in a variety of literary traditions. He is also a recipient of the Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Prize for Poetry and the Academy of American Poets Prize from the University of Virginia.

"Miller speaks in poetry. . . the words he uses, the way he connects them, is the language of a poet. . . He absorbs, ponders, then conveys his thoughts." — Victoria Times-Colonist

"Eric Miller's poetry is pointedly, challengingly intellectual and philosophical. . . . Clearly, Miller's gone to school with Don McKay and Jan Zwicky — or maybe Wallace Stevens and G.M. Hopkins . . . Miller's unafraid to use the difficult word . . . [his] verse demands close reading, but it repays exponentially. . . In the Scaffolding sets erudition and cognition beautifully unfolding." — Chronicle Herald

"A remarkable new book . . . In its energetic and innovative beauty, the poetry of In the Scaffolding is worthy of the important issues it addresses . . . the poetry gives the substantiation of a deeply explored and poetically reconstituted life." — Books in Canada

93 pages
Pub date: April 18, 2005