Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Featured Poetry: Nerve Language by Brian Henderson

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Pedlar Press

Daniel Paul Schreber was a high-ranking judge in Leipzig in 1894 before he plunged into an alarming and excruciating mental disruption during which God spoke to him directly by way of a nerve language. He thought that a terrible disaster had befallen the universe, and that he was the last person left alive. Schreber believed it was incumbent upon him to restore the cosmos, and in order to do so he had to enter the world of female voluptuousness, of the feminine. In this exquisite new work based in part on the memoirs of Schreber, poet Brian Henderson gives voice to a radical human interiority, to what is wild and clamourous and craning, the imagined Schreber’s ragged desires revealing to us much about our own.

Nerve Language is an extraordinary and courageous book. Every poem in it sparkles like snow, like diamonds, like black coal about to be lit: it is that cold, that shining, that fiery with inspiration and madness, the desperation of our age transmuted alchemically into a kind of holiness, an opening into the possibility of the miraculous. It should be required reading for every modern citizen; it might save us from ruin.” – Di Brandt

Brian Henderson is the author of nine collections of poetry, including a deck of visual poem-cards, The Alphamiricon. He has published articles, reviews and poetry in many literary magazines such as Arc, Antigonish Review, Canadian Forum, Canadian Literature, CVII, Descant, ECW, The Fiddlehead, Prism, Quarry, Rampike, Rune (of which he was a founding editor for its decade of existence), Scrivener, The Windsor Review and Writ. He's a photographer, has been a drummer in a rock band, and an occasional teacher. He has a PhD in Canadian Literature, and is the director of Wilfrid Laurier University Press. He lives with the love of his life, his son, step-son, a frequently visiting daughter, and a relentlessly curious dog. There is only a little madness in the family.