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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: #12,978,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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