The Politics of Knives
Winner of the 2013 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry (Manitoba Book Awards)
She made hyphens, made me use them.
Pulled brackets from her back. Saying:
‘These in your throat and these around your neck.’
If David Lynch crashed into Franz Kafka in a dark alley, the result might look like The Politics of Knives. Moving from shattered surrealism to disembowelled films, these poems land us in a limbo between the intellectual and the visceral, between speaking and screaming. Finding the language of violence and the violence in language, Jonathan Ball becomes the Stephen King of verse.
'Ball wields language to exposes its proclivity to violence rather than exploit that tendency, demonstrating an experimental finesse that turns the voyeur’s gaze back on itself. Chilling, exacting and precise, Ball and his 'terrible' muse see with a sharpness that is both calculated and marvellous. In The Politics of Knives, the lyric poem is honed to an investigative, reflective edge.' - Alberta Book Awards jury citation
Praise for Jonathan Ball:
‘[Ball is] one of our most exciting young poets.’
– Robert Kroetsch
'Jonathan Ball's beautiful nightmares both disturb and entice.' - Thomas Wharton
‘I consider Jonathan Ball’s Clockﬁre to be in the top handful of poetry titles last year in this country. No prize for him, alas, but lots of buzz and engagement and, for this reader in any case, the sense of a poet settling into the saddle for a while. Ball is a conﬁdent, smart poet. Very smart.’ – Sina Queyras
‘While a ﬁne example of contemporary poetic writing, Clockﬁre could also entertain a wider audience intrigued by fantasy that beaks out beyond genre borders.’ – Douglas Barbour