A tour de force, a book-length poem, embracing a wide variety of poetic and prose forms, to tell the story of Harry Houdini.
Steven Price’s Houdini knows better than most the limitations of life, having bent the efforts of a lifetime to transcending them, and having failed. Ah, but his thinking! Or rather Steven Price’s thinking with and through him. “Make it muscular and be apparent in it,” says Houdini’s archivist/advisor, “words are also escapes.” So they are in a book with the sinew of Anatomy of Keys. The facts of Houdini’s life are here – immigration to America, youth, circus stint, fame, that notorious life-ending punch – but the facts are the spine of a deep and ardent meditation on what is. In poems of astonishing technical virtuosity, Steven Price reads Houdini’s world and our own in compellingly original ways.
Swivel-and-snick sputter of a turned handle.
Bald knob bare in the palm. The torpid click
And calm take of springs triggered far within.
I’d set myself to hear it clear again,
That ordinary hinge and creak and drag
Of doors we live with all our days and lose
The wonder of.
“Steven Price, in his Anatomy of Keys, draws us into the intricacy of Harry Houdini’s character, as the Master himself entered trunks, chains, a web of knots. In poem after poem, there is the miraculous surprise of release. These are moving, brilliant poems, a remarkable debut.”
– Tim Lilburn
Steven Price was born and raised in Colwood, BC. His work has appeared in Canadian and American literary journals. He is one of the poets in Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets, edited by Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane. Price graduated from the University of Virginia Writing Program, and currently teaches poetry and writing at the University of Victoria.
Book Dimensions Approximately 5 1/2″ x 8 3/4″ (14cm x 22cm)