of the CBC BOOK CLUB BOOKIE AWARD FOR BEST BOOK OF POETRY, 2010
Reviews for Indexical Elegies:
"There is no mistaking Fiorentino's sharp
wit and precise vocabulary,
which are entirely individual - something far too few writers can
QUILL AND QUIRE
"Fiorentino is a model poet of the moment, reminding us that the
present times are difficult and unwieldy, yet reigning in any hysteria
(however justified it might in such times) with his own brand of
linguistic and emotional restraint. ... Impossible
not to hear the
echo of César Vallejo here, intentional or coincidental.
not to hope that Fiorentino ... will live—and keep
Jon Paul Fiorentino’s
Indexical Elegies gorgeously unbolts
the process of desiring
Desiring machines, the spaces in which production of reality takes
are always binary, involving a flowing thing into another thing that
flow: a breast to a mouth, an index to an elegy, a sign to an object.
itself in its breaking down, in its not being fixed because it is a
thought to the pen, pen to the paper, words to the eyes,
to ears, everywhere there are breaks and flows.
"As indexes, or indices, these elegies are a tribute to language—
many of these poems emphasize language’s materiality rather than
meaning. This attention to materiality is one aspect of what
the "post-prairie"—a term that serves as a subtitle of the
section titled "Transprairie." "Transprairie"
as a sequence and
an idea suggests Fiorentino’s exploration
of the threshold between
prairie writing—with an adherence to voice and experience—and
experimental writing—with an adherence to disjunction and
This book, however, shows Fiorentino inhabiting both
confidently and comfortably in a way that suggests that he’s not
in transcending his prairie roots, but traversing them in new ways."
"Stellar. The inclusion of loss builds a new city, as those of us
displaced by death always have to do, re-creating the spaces where
we once lived when people we lost were in our lives into the places
we are forced to live now, without them."
THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
“Fiorentino [is an] unexpectedly
tender and moving humorist. In entertaining
poems like “Famous Grey Chevette”
and “Processional Development”
remixes found material, regional colour and
reminiscences to great effect, creating a vivid
portrait of the city that is
simultaneously a source of his annoyance and his
"Fiorentino deftly turns his grief for the loss of mentors, his
hometown and his past into an examination of how the personal
is writ large over our homes, our maps and our mundanities.
A beautiful catastrophe."
ADVENT BOOK BLOG
"Fiorentino's combination of feeling and
thought gives this book remarkable power"
MONTREAL REVIEW OF BOOKS
"Indexical Elegies [is] a great book of poetry."
"A sharp collection that is sure to please poetry fans and newbies
"Indexical Elegies is a bold new collection of playful yet moving
BULL CALF REVIEW
"Indexical Elegies is a fascinating book, full of intriguing little
Set in his two home cities of Winnipeg and Montreal, Jon Paul Fiorentino’s
Indexical Elegies archives losses of people, places and past
lives. The title
sequence is a moving elegy for his friend and mentor, the late Robert
Allen. ‘The index is physically connected with its object; they make an
organic pair,’ suggested philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. Fiorentino
spins the notion out in intriguing lexical threads, breaking down and
rebuilding elegy and language, parsing how the beloved and newly lost
can in some ways feel more present in their absence.
‘Fiorentino produces peaks of warmth and true sadness.’ -- The Globe and
‘Fiorentino's The Theory of the
Loser Class is an amusing, poetic treatise ...
tender, academic, furious and surprising.’ -- Eye Weekly