Kevin Heslop

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Kevin Andrew Heslop (b. 1992) is a multidisciplinary artist from London Township Treaty territory.

In addition to two chapbooks—con/tig/u/us (Blasted Tree 2018) and there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria (Frog Hollow Press 2019)—his work as a poet, journalist, filmmaker, curator, and playwright has recently appeared or is forthcoming with The Fiddlehead and Anstruther Press (2020), The Devil’s Artisan (2021), Museum London (2021), McIntosh Gallery (2022), and TAP Centre for Creativity (2022).

His full-length collection of poetry, the correct fury of your why is a mountain, is forthcoming in fall 2021.

“How uncanny, I know just from the titles 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 word 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 come 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)

“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, 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)