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So Dance the Lords of Language by Marius Kociejowski  

‘Collected in So Dance the Lords of Language is some of the finest poetry that has been written in years.’

Ontario-born but long resident in London, England, Marius Kociejowski is justly admired by lovers of contemporary poetry for his mastery of the craft. Combining intellectual passion with a delicate yet severe music all his own, he has created a body of verse that has won him wide acclaim among ‘the happy few’ who have been able to obtain his previous books which have been difficult to find in his native land. This edition collects those poems which the poet himself considers most representative of his work and will give readers new to his poetry the surprising but delightful experience of encountering a major poet who can sing of the most complex truths in an elegant and incisive manner.

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‘With Marius Kociejowski’s So Dance the Lords of Language, the Porcupine’s Quill, as could be expected, continues its commendable habit of publishing few books, but always those by writers of extreme talent. Kociejowski was born near Ottawa, but has been living and publishing in England for some years. This book collects his published work to date, and is a fine introduction for those of us previously unfamiliar. Kociejowski is a bib-liophile, essayist and traveller as well as a poet, and unpacking some of his poems can be a formidable task (imagine T. E. Lawrence’s sea-chest borrowed by Ezra Pound after Robert Graves had used it); treasures, though, are revealed here with cumulative force. These poems come with a formidable erudition, and at their best they gleam with an enameled splendour, as in Giacomo Leopardi in Naples, A Seventh Jew or The Charterhouse at Valldemosa, in which the long, elegant lines have dispensed with excessive ornament and probe deeply while loosening not at all the miraculous technical control. If I ventured a small cavil, it would be something about the whiff of disdain -- or is it cynicism? -- that often attends verse courting the ambitions of high modernism. Difficulty and art have long been bedfellows; they squabble as often as they screw, but put in the effort with Kociejowski and the rewards are huge.’

—Ken Babstock, Globe and Mail

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‘Kociejowski is at his best, I believe, in poems that comment obliquely on matters of art and culture by constructing meaningful scenes from the past or creating an exuberant imaginative world that, often by contrast, becomes profoundly relevant to our own times. There is, for example, one poem spoken by the early 19th-century Italian poet Leopardi, one exploring the relationship between Chopin and George Sand, one about the Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti, and even one about a Sicilian bandit. All are inventive, intellectually challenging, and notable for a finely honed precision of language.’

—W J Keith, Canadian Book Review Annual

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‘Marius Kociejowski is a poet to be reckoned with ... erudite, thought-provoking and humane.’

—Glenda Beagan, Poetry Wales

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‘Beside the manifest strength of Marius Kociejowski’s writing, I have carried away from his book an impression of mature humanness, of the depth and seriousness and ironic humour which so often, or rather so rarely, constitute full human stature,’

—Alan Massey, Agenda

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‘I welcome a poet, previously unknown to me, who is seriously concerned about (to use his own words) ‘‘a universe all rusty fish-hooks and spiritual collapse’’, and who is capable in fine writing of finding the right words to communicate those concerns.’

—Heather Buck, Agenda

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‘There’s a lot of that rare thing, considered independent thought, behind this elegant poetry.... Kociejowski manages to ask the big questions as though they were not philosophical or theological, but poetic, and is usually prescient enough not to give the answers.’

—Herbert Lomas, AMBIT

Unpublished endorsement

‘Marius Kociejowski’s poems have a close-grained and inexplicable magnitude. By ‘‘close-grained’’ I mean language tuned ultra-fine in its projections -- aural, intellectual, affective. Here the charm is deep, the splendour unlaboured; the colours of history, reckoned afresh, saturate singular people, in whom passion is lucid again. On such a scale precious few poets today risk two steps; here is one who collects his extraordinary resources, and strides.’

—Christopher Middleton


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Marius Kociejowski was born 1949, in Kemptville, outside of Ottawa. He has published three collections of poetry in England: Coast (Greville Press, awarded the Cheltenham Prize, 1991), Doctor Honoris Causa and Music’s Bride (both Anvil Press). He has also published essays on various topics, mainly on people, travel and literature. Recently he completed The Street Philosopher & the Holy Fool, a travelogue based on five journeys he made to Syria. He lives in London, England.

The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.

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POETRY / General

ISBN-13: 9780889842601

Publication Date: 2003-02-15

Dimensions: 8.75 in x 5.56 in

Pages: 120

Price: $14.95