Taking the Breath Away

Taking the Breath Away, by Harold Rhenisch

Taking the Breath Away

by Harold Rhenisch


  • Spring 1998
  • ISBN 978-0-921870-55-5 (0-921870-55-8)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 96 pages
  • Poetry

Mythic and colloquial, lyrical and elegant, Taking the Breath Away introduces us to Harold Rhenisch‘s mature poetic voice in poems characterized by brilliant imagery and continuous reinvention. Long known as the poet of the land, the poet who conjures the land to speak, Rhenisch in this new collection bridges a host of Western artforms — gothic, baroque, folktale, ballad, post-modernism and the surreal — to extend our “dumbed-down” urban vision.

Humorous and elegaic at once, Taking the Breath Away ranges from Okanagan farmers and Cariboo ranchers to Plato’s Republic and German cathedrals, from mad King Ludwig of Bavaria to Van Gogh learning about Canadian snow. These are poems that lift Canadian colloquial speech into a sophisticated language that returns the world to a state of wonder.

“Rhenisch’s new book is a marvel. It is full of sudden beauty. It moves us into a gentle and terrible world where you can ‘lose the wind’ or ‘taste the river in a stone.’ What delight to know there is such a song out there and someone to sing it.”
— Patrick Lane

“In these exquisitely articulated lyrics, Rhenisch, the Meistersinger of Okanagan poetry, resuscitates the ruined choirs in orchards laid bare by cynicism. They will take your breath away.”
— Linda Rogers

Also by Harold Rhenisch: