The most exciting Canadian book I’ve read all year is Brian Brett’s memoir and new poems, Uproar’s Your Only Music (a phrase from Keats), just published. These 160 pages – which begin “My grandmother was a flower girl in Piccadilly – are distilled from 50 years of an extraordinary, hard and brilliant life. Brett, a novelist (Coyote) and critic as well as a poet, tells of the rare genetic syndrome that delayed puberty until his twenties, when he received hormone injections that rudely changed him from a slender “androgyne” to a bear of a man with a party trick of burning off his chest hair. From these bodily trials emerge a gifted mind and a fiery yet contemplative spirit, roaming through family, nature, skid row and foreign parts. Written with the charm and intensity of all Brian Brett’s finest work, the prose and verse halves of Uproar form a diptych of outstanding power and beauty.
Globe and Mail books of the year
Exile Editions ISBN 1-55096-607-3