Learning to Breathe

Learning to Breathe, by Richard Stevenson

Learning to Breathe

by Richard Stevenson


  • Spring 1992
  • ISBN 978-0-921870-11-1 (0-921870-11-6)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 102 pages
  • Poetry

In Learning to Breathe, Richard Stevenson wrestles the male muse; he acknowledges rape, emasculation, torture, and attempts to reconcile the lot of the sons of Cain to the roles of prodigal fathers. Each of the lyrics, serial narratives, and dramatic monologues asks the question: How can our children become fathers to the men we are now?

“These are poems like novels, like paintings, like rainbows. From far Cathay (Beijing) and the massacre to Marika’s new black seven-league shoes, the range of these poems is wonderful, their scope both micro- and cosmos-reaching marvellous. So read the book.”
— Al Purdy

“Richard Stevenson has a powerful social conscience and the poetic grace, wit, craft, and range to stop you in your tracks. [He] is a poet of exceptional range and power. Whether he’s speaking of the serial killer Clifford Olson — “a tic in the hide of a macho-demento culture” — or Idi Amin Dada, a teenager’s rites of passage, or the married and mortgaged middle-class worker drone. Stevenson manages somehow to sing. His poems are melodic utterances in the face of what ails us and the serve to teach us how to breathe — even as, you know, and I know, the litany of horrors mounts.”
— Robert Sward