Hermit Thrush

Finalist of the 2016 Ottawa Book Award. 

Lightness, clarity, freshness, simplicity – all can be used to describe this latest collection of poems by Mark Frutkin. Throughout, the poet shines his light on subjects as diverse as the cathedral of Chartres, ancient Chinese poets, the art of listening, and tiny, black beetles that devour books. Poems as thin and sharp as a blade and as sweet as honeysuckle. A unique work that dissolves into the silence of dusk like the lucid, haunting knock of the hermit thrush.

About The Author

Mark Frutkin

Reviews of this Book

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 – The 2016 Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa finalists include Mark Frutkin’s Hermit Thrush! Congratulations Mark and good luck! Descriptions of short-listed books and author biographies are available on ottawa.ca.  The winners of each category will be announced at the awards ceremony, which will take place at Ottawa City Hall on Wednesday, October 19 at 7 p.m. Each winner will receive $7,500, while finalists will each receive $1,000.

See a review of Hermit Thrush on Michael Dennis’ blog Today’s Book of Poetry.

“In Mark Frutkin’s marvellous Hermit Thrush, the words are listening to themselves so acutely that the reader can’t help but listen too. This attentiveness has something to do with precision and something to do with wonder. “A bird outside the window / sounds like it’s / gargling sequins.” Can’t you just hear it! The other senses are treated with equal respect. You can actually see the ineffable from many of these lines, can feel it brushing against your palm, can smell it in the binding of this very book. It’s up to you whether you eat these poems whole or take your time, nibble by nibble.”
– Barry Dempster

“Any day you can’t coax a chickadee to land on your palm you can always read a poem by Mark Frutkin and get in touch with a mind that is quick, minimalist, and profound. A person could list the friends and relations of these deft gestures – Basho, Szymborska, Simic, the Zen koan, Ponge – but Frutkin’s voice is wholly its own creature, assured, sly, metaphorically robust, and whimsically intent on undoing the habits of familiarity. These poems are deceptively simple as the button that is “a flying saucer / flitting through a slit / into the next dimension.” Running through them there’s a humour that’s cosmic and domestic, a kettle–and–button wisdom that leaves you open, empty, and grateful.”
– Don McKay