21 | Jan Zwicky | String Practice


Jan Zwicky’s String Practice  is an astounding collection of poems ranging in theme from desire, to music, to loneliness, and to other lovely meditations on the nature of love, death and reflection; “Is dying/that hard? Its horizon/is the same shape as your life,” she asks. The complexity of emotion and thought conjured by the poems in Zwicky’s book leaves the reader breathless, with lines such as “a tenderness we cannot teach perhaps/until we die – that leaving from which/there is no return,” or “the road/unreadable now.” One cannot help but absorb the beauty of these poems, with the musical references throughout adding more depth and resonance, so that the collection exudes an almost ethereal quality.

“Our century is breath
on a winter night, or late thin
cloud, the moon. This music
is the earth’s inaudible revolve
through space: horizon
draws back like a curtain.”


Author’s Bio

Jan Zwicky  lives on Quadra Island, off the coast of British Columbia. A new edition of Lyric Philosophy, her discussion of the nature and importance of lyric thinking, is now available from Brush Education. McGill-Queens released Alkibiades’ Love, a collection of essays, in 2015.



Table of contents

Foreword by Bruce Vogt
Open Strings
Practising Bach
Sarabande – after Bach’s Cello Suite No. S in D Major
Gemini – after Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, Sarabande
One Version – after Hindemith’s Funf Stücke für Streichorchester, No. 4
History – after Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings
History – after Haydn’s String Quartet in B Minor, Op. 64 No. 2, Adagio
History – after Bartók’s String Quartet No. 6
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219, Adagio
Small Song: Anger
Small Song
Purcell: Fantasia for Five Viols, “Upon one note”
String Practice
String Quartet
The Last Adagio – after Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 54, No. 2, Finale
Late Schubert – after String Quartet in G Major, Op. 161
Small Song in Praise of Ears

33 pp. total

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