Department of English

English Professor David Wevill publishes new book of poetry

Tue, April 13, 2010
English Professor David Wevill publishes new book of poetry


This collection showcases the creative range and essential writing of David Wevill, an elusive and enigmatic poetic figure. His work shines among a generation of postwar poets known for their literary invention, dissemination of poetry in translation, political witness, and obsession with the image. Wevill is a careful observer of the details of life both as pilgrim and exile. A Canadian born in Japan, Wevill was educated in England, and lived in Burma and Spain before he moved to Austin, Texas, where he has spent more than 40 years as a writer, translator, teacher, and editor. These selections were chosen from more than one thousand pages of published work largely unknown in the U.S. and invite further exploration and discovery of this gifted writer.


"To Build My Shadow a Fire is an extraordinary collection of the varied writings of a poet whose work deserves to be much better known than it is. David Wevill is not an easy poet to sum up. His work ranges from the prose poem to traditional stanzaic poetry, to the open field poetics of the activated page, but however the river of his words flows, whether in turbulent rapids or in slow swells, the poems dazzle. When he writes, “I touch / The river as if skin met skin,” we feel his erotic attention to language and image, but also to the forces running like groundwater through the world’s things, like the “gaunt skyline geometry, / Abstracts jerking out of human / Eyes a like jaggedness.” He is a lovely poet, ravishing even, and this book is a gift."   —Tony Barnstone

"These powerful poems build a shelter, through music and story and image, for a compelling voice. That voice fills each poem and stays with the reader. There is something so deeply humane, wise, and sociable about these tones that we can forget how unswerving David Wevill’s work is in its insistence on a private truth and how carefully crafted in delivering it. This is a wonderful book—a rare harvest of a lifetime’s truth-telling."   —Eavan Boland

"David Wevill is one of the great souls of contemporary poetry, a voice with such depth and emotional range that it is hard to imagine that his work has not garnered the attention it deserves up to this point. To Build My Shadow a Fire casts a new light on this important voice, and reveals the true nature of the shadow—the soul in all its complexity—that is the hallmark of Wevill’s work."   —Bruce Meyer


David Wevill is a Professor Emeritus in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin.  For more information about To Build My Shadow A Fire, please visit the publisher's website.


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