Ken Babstock


Ken Babstock
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Ken Babstock (born 1970) is a Canadian poet. He was born in Newfoundland and raised in the Ottawa Valley. Babstock began publishing his poems in journals and anthologies, winning gold at the 1997 Canadian National Magazine Awards. He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Babstock discovered poetry in his teens, growing up in Pembroke, Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley.

Babstock's first collection in 1999, Mean, won him the Milton Acorn Award and the 2000 Atlantic Poetry Prize. According to the official edition of 1999, Mean is a "stunning exploration of the threshold and divide between our primeval origins and the meanness of our everyday lives." Babstock has since... more »

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Best Poem of Ken Babstock

The Sling Of Two Arms

I held her not well, didn't
hold her well, jumped
my gaze from one eye to her other,
seeing neither, pinned one
deadwood arm that numbed, then
fell. I held her unwell.

The veneer headboard bent, wavered,
its false grain a-swim like
the clean code on a wave-washed
shell. To not be present is hell -
no, to remember having been absent;
indisputably bodily there, legs,

lungs, teeth, and all, but watching oneself
watching oneself holding her -
and not well. She hung ...

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