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To the River

Published by McClelland & Stewart, 1999

Winner of the 1999 Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award.

To the River is a beautifully crafted gathering of poems. Turning and returning to the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, it is a compelling meditation conducted in the presence of a particular landscape. With great metaphorical muscle, the poems move towards the inhabitants of that riverscape, which remains rich with a sense of the strangeness inside the familiarity of willow, geese, river ice, coyote, snowberry. It is not just the satisfaction of aesthetic accomplishment which gives the book its compulsive energy, but the persistence of the seeker’s desire for what eludes even our strongest acts of language. Contemplative and spare, spiritual and sensual, To the River is a poetry of praise, a love poem to the earth, a prayer, and a journal of interior practice. It is a collection written by a poet moving into the full stretch of his power.

“Lilburn’s contemplative language has a resonant beauty.”
— Montreal Gazette

“A poet of standing comes into his own.”
— Dennis Lee

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