New Release from Gaspereau Press

New Release from Gaspereau Press

In twelve long poems, spanning January through December, David Helwig combines the gradually changing seasons with daily goings-on and memories. The Year One charts 12 months populated with birds, Shakespeare, kitchen utensils, foliage, slugs, dead poets, neighbours, weather and friends. He incorporates snatches of song, plays, dialogue and onomatopoeia to create distinct place and mood.

Helwig has arrived at an unusual form that fuses the detail and scope of fiction with the musicality of lyric verse, showing a gift for characterising time and place, fitting old memories into the present tense with ease. Demonstrating a distinctly Canadian fascination with weather, he expresses awe at the changing seasons, recalling winter storms in the height of summer, deliberating over times past whilst headily engaged in present surroundings.

Throughout The Year One, Helwig suspends immediate and remote, present and past, individual and collective on the page together. Certain verses are as much about the process and mentality of describing as they are about the descriptions themselves. This creates a potency and level of comprehension for the reader that is at once tenuous and thoroughly engaging.

Layered thick upon one another, these verses are both personal and universal. The collective effect of the whole is something like perusing a desk drawer in which grocery lists curl up next to dramatic monologues and old letters rest between the pages of this year’s almanac. With this book, Helwig opens the drawer and invites us to join him as he sorts.

This 5.75 by 8.25-inch book is a Smyth-sewn paperback with cover flaps. The cover is printed on 80 pound Graphica! Celadon Vellum paper, with bio wraps printed on 70 pound Rolland Zephyr Laid paper. The text was typeset in Rod McDonald’s Cartier Book by Andrew Steeves and is printed on Zephyr.

David Helwig was born in Toronto. He taught at Queens University and was literary manager of CBC TV Drama. He has been a fulltime writer and editor since 1980, and has worked extensively with Oberon Press in Ottawa. Helwig has published numerous books of poetry and fiction, most recently The Stand-In (2002), Living Here (2001) and This Human Day (2000). His Catchpenny Poems won the CBC poetry award in 1983. Helwig presently lives on Prince Edward Island.

David Helwig’s poetry has been enjoyed by generations of readers. Following the publication of his first collection Figures in a Landscape in 1967 Margaret Atwood referred to his “astonishing range and versatility.” Over thirty years later, those same sensitivities culminate in The Year One, a series Helwig considers “both a new departure and a summing up.”

Confirmed readings:

Hamilton ON – Sunday, April 4, 2004
7:30 pm – Lit Live Reading Series
The Junction Café, Aquarius Lounge
197 King William Street at Ferguson

Toronto ON – Wednesday, April 7, 2004
In celebration of National Poetry Month
7:30 pm – Harbourfront Reading Series
235 Queen’s Quay West

Additional readings are being co-ordinated in Ontario and PEI

The Year One by David Helwig will be released April 1st by Gaspereau Press in Kentville, Nova Scotia. For more information visit