“I realized that at forty,” Tim Lilburn has said, “although I had been probed by many psychologists, spent eight years in Jesuit formation, read many books, I had done nothing to educate myself to be someone who could live with facility, familiarity, where he was born… We need to find our way to take the place in our mouth; we must re-say our past in such a way that it will gather us here.”
This question of where we are in the world is at the heart of much of Tim’s poetry. In his new collection, The Names: Poems, he examines the past and present, the living and the dead in an attempt to name and locate where he has been, and where he stands today.
And where does he stand? Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and now living and teaching at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Tim is the author of seven critically-acclaimed books of poetry, two essay collections, and influential books on poetics. To the River was the 1999 Saskatchewan Book Award, Book of the Year, Living in the World won the 2002 Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award, and in 2003 Kill-Site won the Governor General’s Award.
Tim writes: “I think of myself as someone who looks, or someone who engages in various contemplative acts. That’s my work. The writing is the sort of wake thrown by that ocular and contemplative momentum… How does seeing what I do that way affect my work? The work has no shape before the look. The work is shaped by the contemplative exercise.”
Appearing in: 40. A Quartet of Poets