Sonar by Kristian Enright



Deeper than any rabbit hole you've ever experienced.


Winner of the 2013 Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book and the 2013 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

Ginsberg saw the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness. But what is madness? In a world that has traded Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs for Prozac and where zombies masquerade as the living, who is really mad? Through the eyes of an artist boxed in by tradtition, Kristian Enright’s debut poetry collection Sonar wrestles with language, mental health and identity.

With the echoed voices of the beat generation, postmodernism and prairie poetics at his side, the narrator, Colin Verbanofsky confronts a world steeped in melancholy. Between his dreams and the reflected impressions of medical staff and fellow patients, Colin struggles to find a place for himself in the brilliance and sadness he sees around him. Like his poetic forbears, Enright deftly uses poetry to express his own profound and epic Howl.

Winner of the 2013 Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

Winner of the 2013 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

Advanced Praise

In Sonar, Enright has created delicate and dense layers of poetic text that bounce and echo through literature, philosophy, hospital psych wards, conversation, delusions, the open prairie, and the bright and dark corners and turns of our own minds and hearts. These precise and articulate poems need to be read and reread. They rush and stutter, fragment and proliferate; they insist on creating language for the unspeakable; they blur the edges of both sense and madness. As the voices of the poems navigate through their own dark terrains of fear and longing and joy, Enright invites the reader to find the echoes of her own journeys in this accomplished debut collection.

Chandra Mayor, author of All the Pretty Girls

Kristian Enright'’s absolutely shocking first book is “a terrible beauty” of maddness. As Enright’'s “nightmare distills like a leaking faucet,” James Joyce, Mozart, Freud, Proust and countless others battle it out as angels and demons. William Carolos Williams, Jack Kerouac and Milton break down literary and moral boundaries as Zombies help push the author towards the light. Unlike anything else I’'ve ever read. Dense and dynamic and dangerous. This book dances around the edges of what we call sane.

Michael Dennis, author of Coming Ashore On Fire


A beatific madness. An angelic genius, institutionalized. An epic library of reference material to anchor mental dissonance in fragments of beauty. A suppressed howl reverberating in eardrums and rippling outward, reaching for a distant “ping” somewhere in the black.For ragged philosophers and artists, Kristian Enright’s debut poetic volume, Sonar, is that darkened echo: a navigation in and out of the framework of mental illness. Enright’s narrative is a veritable patient case file with fragments of journal entries, hospital reports and lyrical poetry that guide the reader through heaven, hell and everything in between. On the way, he challenges the conceptualization of madness and creativity, and might possibly provide afflicted readers with a guideline towards their own mental health.

Steve Locke, Prairie Fire Review of Books, Vol. 13, No. 1

Enright spins many plates without dropping a one...

Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press

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