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In 1967, when the newly established House of Anansi Press began publishing, the first two poetry books they issued were a reprint of Margaret Atwood's GG-winning book, The Circle Game, and George Jonas's first book, The Absolute Smile. Over the course of the following forty-four years, Jonas continued to write poetry - publishing in literary and scholarly journals in Canada and abroad, some of which were collected in subsequent books The Happy Hungry Man (1970), Cities (1973), The East Wind Blows West (1993), and The Jonas Variations (2011). The poems in this collection, selected by Anna Porter, Barbara Amiel, Robyn Sarah, and Marc Côté, demonstrate great depth and breadth over Jonas's career. From the occasional poems of the 1960s, when he was writing as a young man, to the variations and translations of great European poets - from Goethe to Faludy - when he is writing as a much wiser, older man, the poetry reveals a sensibility entirely contemporary and original, but steeped in grand tradition, a writer very much engaged with the things of his world.
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