Babstock, Ken

Canada, (b. 1970)

The Sickness Unto Death, and Harris on The Pig. Found

  1. By means of this infinite form, the self wants in despair to rule over itself.
  2.  
  3. They will get three-fourths of their food in the pasture, and we need hardly say that, where clover grows as abundantly as it does, it is the cheapest food that can be fed to a pig.
  4.  
  5. But this indicates something else; that he cannot stand being himself precisely because he failed to become Caesar.
  6.  
  7. If he objects to this; if he has no liking for a refined, well-bred, well-behaved, well-formed pig, let him turn his attention to some other business.
  8.  
  9. There being here some form of reflection… he makes concessions – he is capable of that – and why?
  10.  
  11. up the pen tight during a storm. Their chief merit consists in their cheapness, each pen opens directly into the barnyard.
  12. It would seem as though he had brought with him a legion of imps, and that seven of them had entered into each pig.
  13.  
  14. The form of this ‘exposition’ may strike many readers as odd. On the latter I have no opinion.
  15.  
  16. Fig. 34 – ELEVATION OF MR. ROSEBURGH’S PIGGERY
  17.  
  18. People do neither the one nor the other; they shriek that help is impossible without ever taxing their minds, after afterwards they ungratefully lie. To lack possibility means that everything has become necessary or that everything
  19.  
  20. may be described as long and deep in the carcass, full in the ham, admitting of no neck, dish face, and an easy taking on of fat.
  21.  
  22. Take its philosophical terminology seriously, that is, literally. Many contemporary commentators have fallen
  23.  
  24. from Albany to Jefferson County, and about the same time some thoroughbred Yorkshires were introduced into the same neighbourhood. They are altogether superior in form, beauty, and refinement
  25.  
  26. ceases to be regarded under the aspect of spirit most in dread of nothing. It would be only too glad to be allowed to remain in there. And why not?
  27.  
  28. The general run of pigs in the grain-growing districts partake more or less of this. Such seems to have been the origin of the present
  29.  
  30. act of open defiance.

© Ken Babstock. Airstream Land Yacht. House of Anansi Press, Toronto (2006).

About the Poet:

Ken Babstock (b. 1970) is a Canadian poet, 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.

Babstock’s first collection in 1999, Mean, won him the Milton Acorn Award and the 2000 Atlantic Poetry Prize. He has since published a second collection, Days into Flatspin, which has also come in for high critical praise.

Babstock worked as Poetry Faculty at the Banff Centre for the Arts and is currently the poetry editor for the Toronto-based press House of Anansi. He lives lives in Toronto, Ontario. [DES-07/13]

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