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Handwriting: Poems

Handwriting: Poems

Handwriting: Poems
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Handwriting: Poems Hardcover - 1999

by Ondaatje, Michael; Nicholas Delbanco [Association]

  • Used
  • Fine
  • Hardcover
  • Signed
  • first
Used - Fine


New York: Alfred A. Knopf / Borzoi Books / Random House, 1999 First printing of the stated first American edition, preceded by the Canadian edition. Signed and inscribed by Michael Ondaatje directly on the title-page to novelist Nicholas Delbanco and his wife: "for Nicholas and Elma / with love / Michael Ondaatje / Ann Arbor / '99." Book and dust jacket in fine condition.
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  • Title Handwriting: Poems
  • Author Ondaatje, Michael; Nicholas Delbanco [Association]
  • Illustrator Adam Elder (Autho photo); Archie Ferguson
  • Binding Hardcover
  • Edition 1st Edition
  • Condition Used - Fine
  • Pages 78
  • Volumes 1
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher Alfred A. Knopf / Borzoi Books / Random House, New York
  • Date 1999
  • Bookseller's Inventory # 023203
  • ISBN 9780375405594 / 0375405593
  • Weight 0.65 lbs (0.29 kg)
  • Dimensions 8.71 x 6.26 x 0.59 in (22.12 x 15.90 x 1.50 cm)
  • Library of Congress subjects Sri Lankans - Canada - Poetry, Sri Lanka - Poetry
  • Library of Congress Catalog Number 98-41731
  • Dewey Decimal Code 811.54

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From the publisher

Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Canada in 1962. He lives in Toronto.

Michael Ondaatje's The Cinnamon Peeler, The English Patient, In the Skin of a Lion, Running in the Family, Coming through Slaughter, and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid are available in Vintage paperback.



In the dry lands

every few miles, moving north,
another roadside Ganesh

Straw figures
on bamboo scaffolds
to advertise a family
of stilt-walkers

Men twenty feet high
walking over fields
crossing the thin road
with their minimal arms
and "lying legs"

A dance of tall men
with the movement of prehistoric birds
in practice before they alight

So men become gods
in the small village
of Ilukwewa

Ganesh in pink,
                         in yellow,
in elephant darkness
His simplest shrine
a drawing of him

lime chalk
on a grey slate

All this glory
preparing us for Anuradhapura

its night faith

A city with the lap
and spell of a river

Families below trees
around the heart of a fire

from the small villages
of the dry zone

Circling the dagoba
in a clockwise hum and chant,
bowls of lit coal
above their heads

whispering bare feet

Our flutter and drift

in the tow of this river

Media reviews

"Richly sensual images.... [Ondaatje] contracts the narrative to a few concrete images, giving his verse a mysterious reticence." --The New York Times Book Review

"Poems that are virtual hybrids of the contemporary and the ancient." --Boston Book Review

"Smooth poetic lines.... Another finely polished Ondaatje gem." -- Time Out-New York

"Extremely beautiful." --Robert Hass, The Washington Post

From the Trade Paperback edition.