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New and Selected Poems (1984-2011) Paperback – August 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cliff Burns has been a professional author for over 25 years. He has published over a dozen volumes of his work and his books include THE LAST HUNT, SO DARK THE NIGHT, OF THE NIGHT and RIGHTEOUS BLOOD. His writing has been optioned for adaptation into films and produced on the radio and stage.

For more information, check out his web site, "Beautiful Desolation":


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog Press (August 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0969485360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0969485360
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,463,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been a professional writer for thirty years and have 10 full-length books, 100+ published stories and 15 major anthology appearances to my credit. I've also written for the radio and stage and two of my efforts have been optioned for adaptation into films.

Since 1990 I have been an independent (indie) publisher and author--my imprint, Black Dog Press, has gained a solid reputation for producing literate, aesthetically striking volumes and e-books.

I've released a number of books through my modest press including, most recently, a mystery novel, DISLOYAL SON (2015), a re-issue of my acclaimed short story collection SEX AND OTHER ACTS OF THE IMAGINATION (2014) and, the previous year, a selection of short fiction draw from fifteen years of writing, titled EXCEPTIONS AND DECEPTIONS. Before that, there were two "best of..." compilations of verse and prose: NEW & SELECTED POEMS: 1984-2011 (ISBN 978-0-9694853-6-0) and STROMATA: PROSE WORKS (ISBN: 978--0-9694853-7-7).

Other books in my catalog include THE LAST HUNT (ISBN: 978-0-9694853-5-3; March, 2012), SO DARK THE NIGHT (ISBN 978-0-9694853-3-9) and OF THE NIGHT (ISBN 978-0-9694853-4-6). All of them can be purchased through my site or from various other venues (including your favourite indie bookstore)--there are also Kindle and e-book versions available. The latter two books are part of a loose "cycle" of supernatural mystery/occult thrillers set in the fictional city of Ilium. Excerpts are posted on my blog (see "Homepage" below) and can be downloaded FREE, under the terms of Creative Commons.

As for current projects, you can be certain I'm bending my brain on a new novel, short story, or maybe an essay, review, monologue, anything that comes to mind. The daily practice of writing is important to me, crucial to my sense of identity and purpose. I write or else I begin to lose definition, fade away. Like Robert Penn Warren says, it's "the pain I can't live without". Amen to that.

You can quote me:

"I've been an independent writer and publisher since 1990, when my first book, SEX & OTHER ACTS OF THE IMAGINATION, was released through an imprint my wife and I created.
Controlling every aspect of production and design allows to me present my visions to readers without intermediaries--I personally select cover art, font, ensure the smallest details reflect the highest possible standards.

My heroes and literary influences include the likes of Philip K. Dick, Richard Matheson, Harlan Ellison, David Cronenberg, Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, James Crumley, Terry Gilliam and Rene Magritte. Brilliant, original, unprecedented artists who continue to leave their mark on our world.

You can read a substantial proportion of my work on my site (over 300,000 words of it), including novel excerpts, many short stories, essays, poems, even recorded music. All of it offered for FREE reading and downloading..."



Praise for Cliff Burns:


"This is a book of hot dreams and frozen nightmares. It floats on a plane few writers achieve, where the imagery is raw but the insights are tender. The people in these stories will stay with me for a long time to come."

-Timothy Findley (author of Not Wanted on the Voyage & The Wars)

"At last Canada has found a literary equivalent to David Cronenberg!"

-Strange Adventures (U.K.)

"Cliff Burns combines the nightmarish paranoia of Clive Barker with the contemporary voice of Richard Matheson."

-J.F. Gonzalez, Iniquities (USA)

"Burns writes like Hitchcock directs, producing gooseflesh without monsters. And that is the scariest writing there is."

-Factsheet Five (USA)

"A powerful and distinctive voice...unsettling...relentless imagination."

-The Edmonton Journal (Canada)


"Outrageous...weird...incomparable and brilliant."

-Mark Ziesing


"Burns's writing is sparse, minimalist, but his words are as sharp as knives, dissecting our universe with astonishing precision. The Reality Machine, as sharp and memorable as a paper cut, is a real find. These stories have teeth, and they bite. You will not leave unmarked."

-Corey Redekop, author of Shelf Monkey

"Cliff Burns' books belong on anyone's five-foot shelf of essential reading, lodged snugly between Borges and Burroughs."

-Stefan Dziemianowicz

"Highly effective, chilling and thought-provoking..."

-yourflesh Magazine (USA)

"Burns offers such raw imagery, such precise wording and such odd, intriguing settings that these stories are engrossing."

-Quill & Quire (Canada)

"If you're fed up with writers whose stories are all the same, you need to be reading Cliff Burns."

-Tangent (USA)

"Every story threatens to bust out of itself: I'm not talking about trick endings and poignant twists...but the capacity of language to compress events into an implosive confluence that shatters our hold on the real. That's what Burns is after..."

-Broken Pencil (Canada)

"In a literary market full of stale themes and stagnant prose, Burns' fiction is an invigorating blast of Canadian freshness."

-Necrofile (USA)


"An astonishing feat of fictive shape-changing...an amazement to behold...Cliff Burns plays his hand well and the whole book's a surprise well worth the reading."

-Edward Bryant, Locus (USA)

"RIGHTEOUS BLOOD...has two quirky novellas...the author expertly manipulates the reader's sympathy within a very murky ethical system..."

-Ellen Datlow, Introduction to Year's Best Fantasy & Horror (#17)

"On the strength of these stories I'll be keeping a close eye out for this author, who has just been added to the small list of 'must read'."

-Andy Fairclough (U.K.)

"Cliff Burns has been disturbing readers for around twenty years, crafting dark explorations into the hearts and motivations of characters who, through the clarity of the author's prose and unique, imaginative aplomb, speak to readers' fears and fascinations with the dark possibilities of the world around us and the conflicting worlds within...provocative work in an age of lackluster fluff."

-William P. Simmons (U.K)

"In 'Kept' the unexpected and unpredictable elements make this one of the best stories I've read this year. Unconventional and exciting, Righteous Blood gets a big, fat thumbs up!"

-John Berlyne (U.K.)

"Two very quirky and strange tales, peopled with characters that are startlingly imagined...memorable, original, energetic...a startlingly bold and inventive work."

-Claude Lalumiere, LOCUS Online (USA)


Rating 5/5 "(A)n accessible and fun read...it all adds up to one book I can heartily recommend. It's a great read and I hope I will one day hold a paper edition in my hands, because this one deserves it."

-Entropy Pump (Germany)

"So Dark the Night is a raunchy occult thriller, written with an elegance and humour I couldn't resist."

-John Miedema, Slow Reading

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rahina McWethy on April 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For whatever reason, self-published books have not yet gained the respect of similar efforts in the music and film industries. Perhaps it's due to the confusion between self-publishing and the vanity press. Perhaps it is the ingrained judgement that such writers must have been rejected by the big publishers for a good reason. Possibly it's just that "self-published" seems to be the term of choice instead of "indie lit" or something else that promotes the notion of a hip new underground. Excellent literature is not only to be found on the main thoroughfares and reading Canadian Cliff Burns' New and Selected Poems has newly verified that belief.

The poems in this slim collection (little more than a hundred pages, with one poem per page) are almost universally somber in outlook, harsh and laconic, each word clearly selected with the greatest care and with an intensity of expression that can be overwhelming, almost as a physical sense of disturbance. They offer a punch in the gut and then they'll cast a shadow over your day as you re-read and contemplate them. You'll either find this appealing or you won't. Poetry is a personal thing and I lean towards the darker set, whether expressed in 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came' or the war verse of Siegfried Sassoon.

There is a refreshingly outward gaze to these poems as well, most of them eschewing the constant introspection ('cause it's all about ME, baby) and "confessional" subject matter of, for instance, 99.9 percent of the Beat poets. Burns devotes most of these poems to the world he's living in and to fantastic speculation upon it. Scientific concepts thread the work alongside the fossils of the past, the overall concept being that no matter how much mankind has invented, our species is still frightened of the dark.
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New and Selected Poems (1984-2011)
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