the correct fury of your why is a mountain by Kevin Heslop
Poet-critic Jim Johnstone has described Kevin Heslop's the correct fury of your why is a mountain as among “the most promising poetic projects to come out of Canada in recent years.” This debut collection communicates Heslop’s sense of balance as a visual artist, curator, and poet who weights the page with visual harmony. By turns experiment, lyric, and incantation, the book nods to its author’s training as an actor, combining a command of language, form, character, and polyphony to make something performatively unique.
“Is poetry the organization of hope?” Heslop asks in this irrepressibly atypical collection of polychromatic poetry. Free-ranging, light-lucid, clarion-clear, these poems are radiant “clusters of nerves, borrowed,” unstrung mala beads resonating at the frequency of truth. Metaphysical, razor-witted, a liberated consciousness bursting from the pages in an oceanic radicalization of empathy, grief and utter fucking joy in livingness and language, the correct fury of your why is a mountain looks with loving-kindness upon the unkindnesses of the world and responds with sheer syntactical ecstasy. –– Roxanna Bennett, author of Unmeaningable (Gordon Hill Press, 2019)
“How uncanny, I know just from the title alone, it's a Kevin Heslop poem, and that’s a sweet thing, because we’re only at the gate. To enter lies the real joy. ‘is poetry / the organization of hope? / the suitably excessively wordy organization of hope a few steps at a time?’ Yes, darlin’s, fortunately for us, Heslop knows, wields this simple truth in tonal wordscapes ‘like a perfect eyelash on a sleeping baby’s cheek’ … ‘Listen: someone’s saying a prayer in a locked bathroom.’ Meticulous is too often trifled, here, an exacting elegance that gleams. Does a more ravishing debut come to mind? Nope. “What in the world is coming next?” This is it. Welcome to Heslop Mountain.” –– Kirby, author of Poetry is Queer (Palimpsest Press, 2021)
“In English the word for poetic rhythm doubles as the name, Kevin Heslop. Which is to say that the poems in Heslop’s debut collection, fresh, innovative, far-reaching, do not miss a beat. Nor does their reach exceed their sure grasp. Heslop’s “poems are like grief.” His slide into hope: “volta volta volta.” They are rivers of poetic consciousness, elegant and exuberant, contagious. No poet, no lover of poetry should be without this astonishingly inspired—and inspiring—collection.” –– Arleen Paré, author of First (Brick Books, 2021)
At times spare and minimal, and at others unruly and encyclopaedic, Kevin Heslop’s book-length debut, as Hugh Kenner famously said of Ezra Pound’s Cantos, is “a gestalt of what it can assimilate.” Aphoristic, fractured, and reluctantly elegiac, the poems in the correct fury of your why is a mountain reward careful reading, and despite their commitment to alterity, remain tethered to affect, lyricism and a searching subjectivity, to “the flummoxed half-light … touching everything.” –– Phillip Crymble, author of Not Even Laughter (Salmon Poetry, 2015)
“Full of humour and the slippages between thought and language, this sublime poetic debut by Heslop dances the reader between language, sound, and the dissonance of linguistic connotation. Language, here, distilled to the level of thought act. These are poems that are human in a way that many contemporary collections miss with their noise. Here we have a lyric web cast from the individual into the massive breadth of the world. the correct fury of your why is a mountain is both profoundly personal with sonic word play and the bleeding of meaning, built upon the beauty of rich lasting metaphors, yet a clear reflection of a rich world inhabited by an equally rich poetic consciousness.” –– D.A. Lockhart, author of Breaking Right (Porcupine’s Quill, 2021)