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Russell Thornton has the rare ability to be both keenly observant of the minute details of his environment and intensely introspective. His poetry is full of startling images that will stay with you long after turning the final page. In House Built of Rain, Thornton takes his readers on a dizzying journey of human experience - from the yearning of a young child to the sorrow of an adult losing a loved one to Alzheimer's. He covers a lot of ground along the way, witnessing prostitutes "counting out their smiles,/ and hiding in their pupils" or hiking to the mouth of the Capilano River where "the gulls know how the waters of this place can run two ways at once." Thornton writes about extremes: the moment of conception and the moment of death, tranquil forests and smoky urban bars, abuse and tenderness. Concerned but never pessimistic, fierce but compassionate, narrative but lyrical, House Built of Rain is a balanced collection of work that reveals Thornton's considerable talents as a wordsmith. Though his poems are often dark and edgy, he shows us beauty in a scream, ecstasy in violence and, in a dying breath, the universe.