The North End Poems
With The North End Poems, his always vivid new collection, Michael Knox has further honed his lucid, accessible style. In the tradition of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Michael Ondaatje’s classic book-length poem, this at once gritty and tender lyric sequence creates a desperate but surprising narrative that’s reminiscent of David Adams Richards at his very best. Channeling the beliefs, passions, fears, friends and fights of Nick Macfarlane, a young steeltown warehouse worker, Knox creates the kind of hardscrabble, blue collar world that exists everywhere. Benders and punchups, beaters and punchclocks, give The North End Poems the means to explore notions of masculinity in both familial and social environs. Because this is a world largely without the presence of women, Nick’s perspective takes a significant turn when he meets someone from the other side of the tracks — a University student named Carla who challenges him to think about a life beyond the north end and outside of what he thought possible.
Michael Knox is a writer and teacher. Raised in Hamilton and now living in Toronto, Knox’s work has appeared in literary magazines in Canada and internationally. His critically acclaimed debut collection, Play Out the Match, was published by ECW Press in 2006.