ECW Press, 2018
"Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy has arrived, and not a moment too soon! Nothing less than a manual for navigating the current landscape of booby-traps and hidden unravelling. An invaluable aid in this time of troubled spirits, muddled truths, and convoluted thinking. Paul Vermeersch has created a template to help us all traverse the highways and bi-ways of an increasingly confused and confusing world full of misinformationalism and bald-faced lies."
— Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO
"Vermeersch captures our culture’s anxieties in these eclectic poems, which range widely in form and draw from pop culture, science (particularly in the Space Age) and literature. Our fears take metaphoric shape as age-old monsters such as the bogeyman and the malicious hag of folklore, but also as real-life menaces such as the atom bomb. The tone is not all doom-laden, though, for Vermeersch suggests that the way forward is through our capacity for imagination."
— Barb Carey, The Toronto Star
"Pataphysics meets pulp in Paul Vermeersch's sixth collection...a canny pop acceleration equal to the obdurate cargo of politics."
— Jesse Eckerlin, Quill and Quire
"In Paul Vermeersch’s conception, we have no need for fictional dystopias: we are living in one right now. The poet’s sixth full-length collection offers a road map for navigating our current moment. One of the poems – 'How to Protect Yourself from Monsters' – could serve as an alternate title for this frightening, yet paradoxically hopeful, work."
— Quill and Quire, fall 2018 poetry preview
"It’s like waking from a dream where you’ve been searching through the ruins for — what? Love? Hope? The way back to your world? Only you realize that you’ve been awake all along and the dreams you have are the moments of clarity amid all the madness. Or maybe it’s the other way around. How can you even tell anymore?"
"While the collection might begin in some rather dark places, Vermeersch’s use of humour, pop culture, surrealism and collage work to disarm the increasing anxieties surrounding the darkest possibilities of humanity’s demise.... Between the lyric narratives, essay-poems and visual pieces, I’m intrigued by the broadening of Vermeersch’s structural scope, and how everything contained fits so nicely together."
"Monsters, futuristic machines, and disinformation abound in this dystopian poetry collection that is a survival guide for what’s clearly coming."
— The Coil
ECW Press, 2014
"Vermeersch's lines reach out like a reckoning storm." -- Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
"He brandishes a hallucinatory aesthetic, truly visionary, akin to controversial filmmaker Lars von Trier, and fashion wunderkind Alexander McQueen: morbid and glorious, extravagant, obscure, with an almost taxidermic fixation on the sublime and horrifying."
-- Diego Báez, Lemon Hound
-- Diego Báez, Lemon Hound
"Vermeersch's writing is a fascinating example of what 21st century poetry could be, should be, or already is. The poetry collection brings disparate ideas, texts, moments, and forms together and, in doing so, functions as a kind of poetic representation of social media and internet use. But Don't Let It is also deeply embedded in the offline world, in the rubble of the everyday, and Vermeersch never shies away from the humour in the darkness..."
"Demonstrating remarkable virtuosity and range, Vermeersch here assumes the mantle of the prophetic, post-apocalyptic poet, and the poems suitably offer a paradoxical mix of cynicism and hope."
-- Jason Wiens, Quill and Quire
"Goodness, it's quite a book. Apocalyptic in its concerns, Don't Let It End... gets at its big questions through poems written within various formal restraints (gloss, erasure poems, found poems, and more).... we were too afraid to look at the world, and at what we were doing. But now, Vermeersch insists, he will look, and we are invited to look with him. To sift through the rubble and see the error that was there all along."
-- Rob Taylor, PRISM International
"With the art references, architectural language, philosophical musings, literary hat tips, and found text, a multi-genre work like Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something is a book I'm compelled to read with an open window to Google... While the Academy led me to Atwood, Ondaatje, and Cohen, I'm happy to return--with a little context--to Vermeersch."
-- Domenica Martinello, The Town Crier
"Deconstruction and reassembly of text are not new literary devices, but Vermeersch takes them beyond their potential for depersonalization and imbues them with his characteristic warmth."
-- Kimmy Beach, Arc Poetry Magazine
"Vermeersch’s chorus of textual eidolons is manifestly inviting. From the first section of the initial long poem, “Magog,” the voices drag you in exquisitely."
-- Catherine Owen
"It’s the sort of writing that sinks down into the little nooks and crannies in your brain and bubbles away there. Incredible stuff."
-- Peter Darbyshire
"Paul Vermeersch’s latest poetry collection Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something, is an ode to language left after the end of civilization. Scouring the poetic landscape with various prose harvesting methods such as cut-ups, centos and erasures, Vermeersch collects work and molds it into new structures. He does this on the conceptual setting of future decay. Through that world Vermeersch renders the words anew and reveals the inherent experimental nature of poetry."
-- Jacqueline Valencia
"The collection is divided into six sections, the title of each one just as startling as the collection title. Moving through them creates a feeling of wading through time, in and out of the present moment, until the timeframe becomes hazy. Vermeersch interchangeably explores both personal and social destruction, convincingly demonstrating how the two coexist."
-- Margaryta Golovchenko, The Coil
"It's surprising in the forms it takes, but not surprising in its deftness and intelligence. A must read."
-- Stuart Ross
McClelland and Stewart, 2010
A finalist for the Trillium Book Award.
"I read Vermeersch's latest collection in a single sitting, which I don't do very often. The language is dense, but there's such a strong rhythmic pull to it -- to me, gloriously reminiscent of James Dickey -- that you just get carried; at times, it feels as though it's being spoken to you by the most captivating and enlightened tent preacher. There's also a deep empathy in Vermeersch's work that helps to remind me what poety -- what language -- is, or should be, about."
-- Johanna Skibsrud, Globe and Mail
"The Reinvention of the Human Hand by Paul Vermeersch is a remarkable collection, deep and rich."
-- George Fetherling, Globe and Mail
"[His] poetry ranks among the finiest inked by any poet of his generation."
-- Judith Fitzgerald, Globe and Mail
"The Reinvention of the Human is, quite simply, a powerhouse book of poetry, an astonishing feat for a poet who has not yet turned forty."
-- Mark Sampson, Maisonneuve
"Like all poetry worthy of attention, The Reinvention of the Human Hand is not for the faint of heart, though its poems about savagery are in themselves gentle and measured observances of how to live in the world and remain curious about the future. This is a book that has the courage of its convictions, supplied through intense focus on the cultural turn in the natural world."
-- Tanis MacDonald, The Malahat Review
"Vermeersch’s writing has a lyrical elegance and an extravagant horror that lingers and invites us to re-think how we are living.... The poems invite us to consider what makes us inhumane, yet encourage us to reflect on what allows us to reclaim our humanity.... they also are a testimony of the power of art, imagination, and stories to transform ourselves and the world in which we live."
-- Dee Horne, The Mark
"Both a swan song to our shared primordial past and an examination of how the animal within thrives in spite of, or perhaps in retaliation to, our best efforts to subdue it, The Reinvention of the Human Hand might very well be the year’s most astute meditation on human nature and its lingering past."
-- Andrew MacDonald, Maple Tree Literary Supplement
"What Vermeersch does best in his current work is ultimately a theoretical -- or at least highly conceptual -- project. By exposing the tensions that stretch not only between individuals but between cultures, species and even epochs -- Vermeersch shows us one way to navigate that difficult pathway between being and meaning. "
-- Amy Lavender Harris, Open Book Toronto
"As an example of the broad humanistic possibilities of the lyrical collection, this book is about as strong as it gets. Vermeersch engages with a great variety of subject matter, from disease to evolution to space travel to cell phones to apes, but does it all with a certain stalwart publicness that keeps it civilization-facing throughout."
-- Jacob McArthur Mooney, Canadian Bookshelf
"The poems in Reinvention demonstrate a keen sympathetic imagination... Some of them function almost as secular hymns, leavening awe with pragmatism... Like the prehistoric artists of Lascaux, Vermeersch has given us a superb and haunting rendition of the biological world and the human place within it. "
-- Peter Norman, The Mansfield Review
"The Reinvention of the Human Hand is a gorgeous sucker punch of a book. Vermeersch has that rare gift of using small, deceptively simple words to produce immense impact. He takes from popular culture people, icons, animals that have fascinated us, spectacles that conflict us, reminds us we are both audience and the wizard behind the curtain."
-- Roxanna Bennett
"It's a rare book of Canadian poetry attempts to navigate the interstices of science, art, apocalypse, human longing, invention, and depravity. It's rarer still to write a book, a poem, or even a line that stays in the mind for months after the reading. On both counts, Paul Vermeersch's The Reinvention of the Human Hand succeeds more than any book of Canadian poetry I have read or am likely to."
-- Brenda Leifso, Arc Poetry Magazine
"In concept and execution, in its pure poetry, it is the best collection I know of published in at least the last 10 years."
-- John MacKenzie, Mumbling Jack
"There are too many poignant and memorable moments in these poems to do justice in this review space, but suffice it to say that, with its considerable and consistent ability to stop its readers in their tracks with its originality, imagery, and general linguistic muscle... Vermeersch’s book could well have appeared alongside those of his publishing housemates on the shortlist for this year’s Griffin Prize. Given the promise and strength of The Reinvention of the Human Hand, Vermeersch’s place alongside such relative giants as Steffler and Brand is a comfortable one, and very well deserved."
-- Owen Percy, The Goose
McClelland and Stewart, 2005
"poetry at its best" -- Books in Canada
"The poet has given us much to sink our teeth into: a thoughtful, coherent package where each poem works in its own right and, in some cases, either echoes a pervious one or foreshadows one to come. And he does so without being manipulative, without grandstanding or resorting to the clever, look-at-me antics of lesser writers. This, to me, is craft at its finest."
-- Carolyn Marie Souaid, The Montreal Gazette
"Between the Walls is an impressive collection, low-key in demeanour but high-powered in effect."
-- Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star
"Between the Walls is an ideal sidekick for an indoor night, when loneliness feels better than it sounds."
-- Quill and Quire
ECW Press, 2002
"In a timely reversal of one of the most felt anxieties of the American world, these poems sing sweet and play rough: eloquent, but always ready for a vengeful beating in the school yard."
-- David McGimpsey
-- David McGimpsey
"The poems are sharply observed and pitch-perfect; by turns, they can make you squirm or laugh....Overall, reading The Fat Kid is like looking at masculinity and our cultural obsession with appearance in a funhouse mirror. It's both warped, and wise."
-- Barabra Carey, The Toronto Star
"Vermeersch’s writing is clear and powerful. The Fat Kid should be required reading in high-school English classes."
-- Susy Webb, Discorder Magazine
ECW Press, 2000
A finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.
"Burn is an arresting debut...the real thing. We need more from Paul Vermeersch."
-- Dennis Lee
"Again and again in these furious, forgiving, courageous poems, we are led through the fire of compressed anger or longing and shown that just being alive is to burn."
-- Arc Poetry Magazine
"Vermeersch demonstrates his true skills in the delicate simplicity of words. He is at the bright beginning of a long career."
-- Broken Pencil
"Vermeersch transcends time and self through luminous turns of language and singular states of mind."
-- Karl Jirgens, Canadian Literature
"His writing is more terse than Bringhurst's, less political than Purdy's, but the best of these poems hold their own in that company."
-- Kevin Connolly, Eye Weekly
Harbour Publishing, 2009
A celebration of the most unlikely, outrageous and important gathering place in modern Canadian writing, with contributions from Dennis Lee, Eurithe Purdy, F.R. Scott, George Galt, Joe Rosenblatt, Margaret Atwood, George Bowering, D.G. Jones, Sid Marty, Steven Heighton, Howard White, David McFadden, David Helwig, Janet Lunn, Paul Vermeersch, Michael Ondaatje and others.
The I.V. Lounge Reader
Insomniac Press, 2001
OUT OF PRINT
SELECTED ANTHOLOGIES (CONTRIBUTOR)
Includes all the poets from the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival, including: Shane Rhodes, TT.O., Jacqueline Turner, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Sachiko Muarakami, Tao Lin, Paul Vermeersch, Anthony Lawrence, Felicity Plunkett, Ian McBriyde, Nathan Shepherdson, Siobhan Harvey, and many, many more.
"Featuring the finest contemporary poets from across Australia and around the world, Queensland Poetry Festival is a showcase of the very best in spoken word and sonic art. This anthology gathers together a selection of these diverse poetic voices, from household names to fresh new artists. An intimate collection of innovative and exciting poetry, sure to animate, delight, and inspire. The 2013 'spoken in one strange word' anthology is a limited edition print-run of only 100 copies, featuring poets from around Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S
Exile Editions, 2009
Editor: Priscila Uppal
A groundbreaking multilingual collection promoting a global poetic consciousness, this volume presents the works of 20 international poets, all in their original languages, alongside English translations by some of Canada's most esteemed poets. Providing an introductory statement about the translation process of each poem, translating poets include Canadians Ken Babstock, Dionne Brand, Nicole Brossard, Barry Callaghan, A. F. Moritz, and Paul Vermeersch, among others; while subjects include poems by Pablo Neruda, Horace, Ezra Pound, Herman de Coninck, Arthur Rimbaud, Alexander Pushkin, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Spanning several time periods and more than a dozen nations, this compendium paints a truly unique portrait of cultures, nationalities, and eras.
VERSschmuggel, ReVERSible, RéVERSible
Wunderhorn Verlag (Germany) and Éditions du Noroît (Canada), 2008
Edited by Aurélie Maurin and Thomas Wohlfahrt
At the 2007 Berlin Poetry Festival, six Anglophone Canadian poets, six Francophone Canadian poets, and six German-speaking poets from around the world were matched up in a round-robin-style translation summit, and this anthology records the results. It also includes an audio CD of the readings from the festival event. I was matched up with the fabulous Marc André Brouillette from Quebec and Robert Schindel from Austria. The poets in this completely trilingual anthology include: Ken Babstock, Karen Solie, Paul Vermeersch, Erin Moure, Suzanne Buffam, Tim Lilburn, Claude Beausoleil, Denise Desautels, Stéphane Despatie, Hélène Dorion, Louise Dupré, Orsolya Kalász, Nico Bleutge, Sabine Scho, Lutz Seiler, and Jan Wagner.