"Contemporary poetry is too often stuck in the hedgerows of mundanity, still chasing the small animals and weather of the 20th Century. Drakkar Noir isn't like that. Jeramy Dodds is out bravely chasing after the new gods of our post-electric reality. He is ravaging the Wifi connections of our collective heartbreak, and our panicked wonder, for the truth about what the hell is happening to us. This is truly modern poetry and the best new stuff I have read by a North American."
– Robert Montgomery
“Unpacking his ever-startling "songwet" and "sundrowned" language, Dodds takes his readers through "towns with all the charms of exit wounds," lavishing upon the reader the "laugh that sobs itself to death." This is scrimshawed, loadbearing verse -- astonishingly delightful!”
– Guy Maddin
"Bejeweled and bedazzled, punning and punk, the poems of Drakkar Noir swim through surreal pools and climb out dripping and invigorated. They are grotesque, wild, jolie laide. “Too much!” a reader might say, throwing the book to the ground, but the lines would sparkle up with their “selfie-proof” mirrors, their bizarre bodies, their sonic booming, and then how could a reader resist?"
– Heather Christle
"With an enervating rage Dodds has "slipped into the wax museum" of the present and "spun the thermostat to max". He melts the language down and casts it to his own purposes, to this "apocalyptic calypso" where each line is an event, replete with verbal feints or painful comedy or a kinetic lyricism. Drakkar Noir is a powerful brew: tense and scalding and mesmeric."
– Nick Laird
“Following the Fratellini Family of clowns, Dodds astonishes readers and non-readers alike. Techniques, such as his patented triumph, the Grand Mal Caesura, along with other favourites, are on full view inside. Dodds brings us poems that are part “gimerick,” but authentically authentic. Dodds is a magician of the love poem, only to be outdone by it, enslaved by it, freed by it. Maybe even loved by it. A haunting, yet hilarious depiction of a journey to and fro the furthest limits of the human experiment.”
– Home & Living Magazine
"Jeramy Dodds’s brilliantly bent second book of poetry can be used to teach any number of lessons about the craft. When not to go too long. How smart line breaks heighten a reader’s curiosity. Why the perfect word is often the most unexpected one. But perhaps the top takeaway is that, if you want to say something memorable, you should lead with the music. Dodds has one of the most preposterous ears in Canadian poetry. He hears odd things in the way we talk to one other and builds his poems accordingly, joining up bits of colloquialized detritus, the bobs and tags of everyday chatter. Repurposed clichés (“the heart wants what wants not the heart”) and downside-up observations (“The change / in my pocket is dying to be a cheap / tambourine”) are held together by ingenious puns, gearshifting assonance, and internal rhymes. The result — linguistically rich, shaggy-dog storytelling — is giddy-making. At a time when wordplay, metaphor, and sound have become minor concerns for poets — the art is now expected to quarterback big ideas to earn its keep — poems have become just too damn serious. Drakkar Noir reminds us that poetry can be a guilty pleasure."
– Carmine Starnino, The Walrus, October 2017
"This is a wonderful new edition of the Poetic Edda. It captures the language, vitality and rhythms of the original. Jeramy Dodds has given us inspiring translations of the Old Norse and Icelandic poems about the gods and heroes."
– Dr Jesse Byock, UCLA & Háskóli Íslands
"Jeramy Dodds walks in the steps of his bardic predecessors, gifting his readers with the old familiar, newly made uncanny."
– ARC Poetry Magazine
"His translation of these tales of Norse gods and heroes crackles with energy and vitality, avoiding the formal tone that plagues similar projects in favour of bawdy, lively lines."
– Winnipeg Free Press
"Dodds has brought forth an exciting new translation of these Medieval Icelandic poems."
– Publishers Weekly
"This book has something like a murder per page: dozens of regicides; a few counts of cannibalism; a handful of people turning to stone; a couple kids cooked up in a stew, their blood mixed with wine. There's also a fair amount of rape, a considerable undertone of homophobia mixed in with a generous sprinkling of "whatever, it's dude-love," some zombie fortunetelling, a bit of cross-dressing, plenty of incest, and at least one fairly extensive guide on how to comport oneself at the feast table."
– Lit Reactor
"The Edda is an excellent fit for someone so adept at wordplay ... The Poetic Edda is always energetic in Dodds’ hands, and this translation will likely ensure that these half-known tales will once again be fully understood by a new audience."
– PRISM International
""Jeramy Dodds has raided an archaic culture and brought home loot for us to share. A good translator has a streak of piracy in the soul."
– Montreal Review of Books
Quiet now, you sacred ones,
all creeds, all Heimdall’s born sons;
Valfather, I will try to retell tales
of old men and long-gone Gods.
Valkyries, cannibalism, elves, a giant wolf, the gods, cross dressing, the undead, tragic love, talking birds, how to behave at dinner parties, and the creation of the cosmos are just some of the elements of these poetic tales. Anonymously committed to vellum in Iceland around 1270, the Poetic Edda contains aspects of much older oral lore that had been circulating throughout Northern Europe for centuries and that has enticed Wagner, Tolkien and Borges, among others. This rousing new translation, by celebrated poet Jeramy Dodds, brings a contemporary liveliness to these myths and legends without chipping the patina of the original.
NEWS & REVIEWS
"The most exciting Canadian debut this year, hands down."
- A Poetry Foundation Book of the Year.
"I’m not sure how Dodds does it and I don’t really care; this is exhilarating, jumped-up, clattering music born in the vibrating gap of pure potential between perceiver and the world."
- Ken Babstock
"Crabwise to the Hounds is akin to having your room lit up by sheet lightning."
- The Toronto Star
"Strange, densely layered, ruthless and funny by turns, these poems ... force us to go slow at their sudden ingrown turns. They are full of creature music surprises."
- The CBC Literary Awards Jury
"…a landmark of Canadian poetry."
- The Mansfield Revue
"Dodds is incapable of writing a dull line ... brilliant."
- Winnipeg Free Press
His hiatuses bloom on the kitchen's sill.
His shirt snaps like tiny animals falling
through branches. In stride with the clock's
hypnotics, his throat chops a glass of water
With cameos by jackalopes, Glenn Gould, homemade spaceships and Carl Linnaeus, these poems are astonishing for their technical agility and their restless inventiveness. There's an elegance here that matches Dodds's impulse to challenge the reader with fresh metaphor and remarkable phrasing; the formal ambitions of many of the poems in Crabwise to the Hounds are balanced by an inclination toward wordplay and bright musicality.
Humorous at times, yet always handled with consummate craft, these poems invoke historical figures like Hiram Bingham and Ho Chi Minh even as they traverse a poetic landscape that includes telephone-game-style translations, interpretive-dance poems on historic paintings and carnivalesque jaunts into a natural world overrun with mules, Alsatians, lions and motorcycle-sized deer.
Crabwise to the Hounds is a startling debut from the winner of the CBC Literary Award and the Bronwen Wallace Award.