John Terpstra

Since the early 1980s, John Terpstra has been a mainstay of the Canadian literary scene, publishing both poetry and non-fiction. He has also been a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Charles Taylor Prize. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where he works as a writer, cabinetmaker and carpenter.



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Brilliant Falls
John Terpstra

2013 / Poetry / $17.95
9781554471232 / Trade paper / 64 pp


John Terpstra has always had a penchant for juxtaposition, for the fault lines where two seemingly opposing truths rub together and make a sort of music. Brilliant Falls, Terpstra’s latest poetry collection, often locates these juxtapositions in the transitions of family life. In one poem, a teenaged daughter has a close scrape while practice-driving, learning “the fact of our fragile enormity upon the landscape.” Terpstra’s sense of life’s fragility and enormity fuels much of this collection, and is especially poignant in those poems dealing with the subject of aging and dying. “There are poems that cut pretty close to the bone,” writes Terpstra, “in terms of my own need to express the difficult and complicated emotions that prompted them.” Yet this collection resists any prolonged wallowing in grief as Terpstra writes his way toward relief, imagining off-beat scenarios where he’s street racing with the Queen of England, encountering Sitting Bull in the form of a crow on a Saskatchewan highway, or being interrogated by Saint Peter in Heaven’s immigration queue. Throughout, Terpstra’s skill for evoking a mood through the sound of his language and the pacing of his expansive narrative style reminds us that poetry is, at the end of the day, essentially an act of exploration and of faith in which: “we still leap aboard, to feel if it shifts / or moves us, trusting and not trusting, / not willing and willing / the rock to roll on.”

Winner of the 2015 Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award for Poetry and shortlisted for the 2014 Raymond Souster Award.



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Other Books by this Author

Call Me Home
John Terpstra

2021 / Canadian Poetry / $21.95 CAN
9781554472260 / Trade paper / 108 pp
Mischief
John Terpstra

2017 / Poetry / $19.95 CAN
9781554471676 / Trade paper / 80 pp
The House with the Parapet Wall
John Terpstra

2014 / Memoirs / $24.95 CAN
9781554471393 / Trade paper / 160 pp
Falling Into Place
John Terpstra

2011 / Nature / $24.95 CAN
9781554471102 / Trade paper / 240 pp
Skin Boat: Acts of faith and other navigations
John Terpstra

2009 / Memoir / $25.95 CAN
9781554470792 / Trade paper / 160 pp
Two or Three Guitars: Selected Poems
John Terpstra

2006 / Poetry / $49.95 CAN
9781554470273 / Fine / 144 pp
Two or Three Guitars: Selected Poems
John Terpstra

2006 / Poetry / $19.95 CAN
9781554470266 / Trade paper / 144 pp
Brendan Luck
John Terpstra

2005 / Poetry / $4.95 CAN
9781554470136 / Pamphlet / 24 pp
The Boys, or, Waiting for the Electrician’s Daughter
John Terpstra

2005 / Biography / Memoirs / $25.95 CAN
9781554470112 / Trade paper / 144 pp
Disarmament
John Terpstra

2003 / Poetry / $18.95 CAN
9781894031738 / Trade paper / 104 pp
Falling Into Place
John Terpstra

2002 / Nature / $25.95 CAN
9781894031608 / Trade paper / 320 pp
Restoration
John Terpstra

2000 / Poetry / $2.95 CAN
9781894031325 / Pamphlet / 16 pp

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