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Henry’s Creature: An Anthology of Poems and Stories about the Automobile



160 Pages


Black Moss Press in 1999 began a series of anthologies celebrating the big concerns of our lives. The first two were about sports (Loser’s First) and love (I Want To Be The Poet of Your Kneecaps). This year, the press turns its attention to cars. For Black Moss Press, the year 2000 is the year of the car – that blessed creature that hums along the highway in the intimidating shadow of trucks, that catches the slip stream and is gone like a cool breeze.

The works in this anthology celebrate sex in the back seat., grow nostalgic for the comfortable cars of our fathers and lust after the cherry red convertible coups of our secret desires. These poems and stories put women behind the wheel and send them on journeys alone across the wide flat prairies. They stink of grease and petrol. They get under your nails like grit and the grime of old engines. They remind us of the past with chrome and fins of the fifties and hearken to the future in a brand new dream machine. In these poems, you will witness how one man expresses his disappointment over a flat tire by walking around his car whacking it with a snow shovel. You will feel the thrill of speed and the freedom and beauty of the landscape with wind at the windows that ruffles your hair. You will remember lost loves. You will read road maps and dream long journeys. You will arrive at your destination remembering what it meant to be carried indoors asleep in the arm of your mother at the end of the day. And in these poems and stories, you will curse the lemons and cuss the non-starters and celebrate the supercharged wonders of your youth.

This love hate relationship with Henry’s Creature – the car – seems a universal metaphor for life in North America, as we see the future in our windshield, the present all around us and the past in our rear view mirrors and we know that the automobile reminds us where we’re going, where we are and where we’ve already been. And we know that there’s something purely Canadian about black ice, road salt, winter and the battery frozen to death in Saskatoon. We know the ubiquitous road-killed porcupine of New Brunswick is a national symbol. We know the rust rot that eats away all late model cars. These authors get under the hood where things happen we don’t quite understand. They shake hands with grease monkeys, used car salesmen, and breathe in the exhausted redolence of being alive on the cusp of what was and is and will be a central part of our lives since Henry Ford watched the first people’s car roll off the assembly line almost a century ago.


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