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Labelled with ICRA

Since 1979 logo

book cover

6 X 9 inches, 72 pages

ISBN 092080697X

The Efficiency of Killers

Ian McCulloch

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 18

'IAN McCULLOCH'S FIRST BOOK, Moon of Hunger, established him as belonging to that rare breed of poets for whom people matter more than literature. This is not to say that McCulloch does not care deeply about literature, the craft and art and magic of it; it is only to say that his concern with the human condition is even greater. This book confirms and extends that commitment to the human community and does so in language even more honed and exact than his earlier work. These poems speak to both heart and head in language sometimes colloquial, sometimes intellectual, but always precise. McCulloch writes tough, unsentimental poems about the sentiments and emotions we all feel. His is a major voice—speaking for us all.'

—Ken Stange

"This poet is very skilled at conveying anguish, pain, desire, without the power of his feeling overwhelming his poetry. His style is anecdotal but also meditative. He understands how the small gestures of the past gain a reverenced, perhaps false importance in the mind of one who recalls."
—Barbara Leckie

There are holes in this flesh,
incongruencies and impurities,
inconsistent movement and
errors of pattern and design.

(I deny hypocrisy, love
but in moments of confusion
there may be contradictions)

There are radical molecules,
volatile form paranoic scheming
and the catalysts of inferiority
colliding into the perfect,
dreaming orbits of desire.

(I deny jealousy, love
but in moments of fear
may cling and call too often)

There are faults in structure,
the archtitecture is riddled with
inherent weakness and a
tendency to collapse
under directed tension.

(I deny weariness, love
but in moments of testing
we both have abandoned hope)

Examining the Flaws


Ian McCulloch


Ian McCulloch lives in North Bay, Ontario. His mixed Cree and white roots inform the delicate tension in all of his poetic work. Penumbra Press introduced Ian McCulloch to readers in 1982 with Moon of Hunger. Critical success lead to the publication of The Efficiency of Killers in 1988 and Parables and Rain in 1993, also well-received.

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