Things That Matter Now examines how reactions to persons and events change with age; how memories lose their power to control; how there is choice in those things one reacts to – in short, the things that matter now.
Bob Stallworthy’s work is more firmly entrenched in the Modernist traditions of imagism, objectivism and anecdotal realism. This is Mr. Stallworthy’s third collection with Frontenac, his fourth over all, and a much more laconic stripped and kinetic, energetic poetry runs between the boards here. He’s even adopted the proprioceptive tricks of early Creeley and George Bowering…occasionally explodes the Gutenberg margins in favour of open form, drop lines, multiple margins – in short a much terser, more rhythmic, linguistically minimalist approach is at work here….This one is unquestionably his finest collection to date. It’s not just the mature subject matter – but the delivery – wit, rueful sense of humourm phrasing, stripped away of ornament – often nail an observation with just the right amount of metaphoric leavening.
his style is … almost immediately between W.C. Williams’s imagist austerity and Milton Acorn’s boisterous narrative style…Stallworthy shares the islander’s gift for letting the physicality of things tell their stories… The strongest poems here engage the reader head on; like Dickens’s ghosts, they can show you someone else’s life and trick you into examining your own.
“I’ve read Bob Stallworthy as a poet for over a decade. This is his best work. Bob has had the courage to grow as an artist, not to repeat his past successes, but to build on them – to leave the things that do not need to be written about behind, and go towards the present and lived moments of his life. In this book is the writing of a man who has found and accepted his power in the world. And, like anyone who understands his own influence in things, Bob writes with humility and confidence combined. I think that is the beginning of wisdom. And it is here.”
“In his powerful new book Things that Matter Now, Stallworthy tackles the big questions of death, love, and time with a grace and bravery that command us to read on. Whether he is writing of his aging parents (or their deaths), his own mortality, or the death of friends, he always gets the human magnitude of it just right. One of my favourite moments is when he voices our shared longing to bring back the exact colours to memories muted to grey. Many of these poems, while set vividly in the present, reveal deep roots. This is a commanding and moving book that I will not soon forget.”
- Shortlisted – W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize
- Shortlisted – Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
About the Author
Bob Stallworthy is a transplanted Maritimer who has lived in Calgary for 25 years. He has written four full-length books of poetry, including this one) and an ongoing e-book called In Silhouette containing the profiles of Alberta authors. He has also written book reviews for The Calgary Herald as well as a regular column for WestWord (the Writers Guild of Alberta magazine), and has written and published poetry in literary magazines across Canada. His book Optics was shortlisted for the 2004 W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. Stallworthy, who was awarded the Calgary Freedom of Expression Award in 2002, is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, a member of the League of Canadian Poets and a member of the Young Alberta Book Society.