George Ellenbogen | The Rhino Gate Poems | Gazelle Books

The Rhino Gate Poems

Author: George Ellenbogen | ISBN: 1550650793 : 9781550650792 | Illustrations: b/w photos & illustrations  | Format: Paperback | Size: 155x230mm | Pages: 94 | Weight: .155 Kg. | Published: IPG (Véhicule Press) – January 1996 | Availability: In Print | Subjects: Poetry texts & anthologies

In this new collection, George Ellenbogen presents a canvas that includes a variety of inhabitants–the restless wife of an East African planter, a Yugoslav victim of brutality, a Holocaust survivor, a Lebanese immigrant, and an aging hockey goaltender–all of whom come to realize that in exploring the trauma of places they considered their own, they are formulating their own exile.

George Ellenbogen’s last book, Along the Road from Eden, was published by Véhicule Press in 1989. Allan Brown, writing in the Whig Standard Magazine called it “a powerful and disturbing book [with] moments of wild comedy.” A collection of Ellenbogen’s poems was published in Paris in 1997 by Harmattan.

When gusts spread against the glass
on the Orient Express to Zagreb
snow separates in alphabet,
the vowels clinging to glass,
consonants slipping into drifts.

It must be this way for the howl
to flatten a summons against the pane,
the moaning against the arms
of night pushing it beneath
unbroken meters of the train.

Inside one hand reaches for coffee,
the other sleeve reaches the table
armless, turning in circles
like a pendulum raising questions
as the train turns through the foothills.

It was a Serb. Or was it a Croat?
who came out of a night like this
with candlesticks, something in a bag
and she was there, something
between the doorway and road

or was it the bedroom and kitchen?
And he lowered to her as if
to leave something behind, a kiss
or something more memorable-we
always misunderstand-and her arm

was in the snow, possibly on a night
like this with less to understand
than ice caking on glass
over a broken toothed moan
in alphabet that never shapes.

George Ellenbogen

a native of Montreal, Canada, studied literature at McGill University and Tufts University in Massachusetts. Between degrees, he worked in the Arctic and lived for extended periods in Mexico and in England. Until his retirement in 2004, he taught poetry at Bentley College in Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in several anthologies and in magazines such as The Literary Review, Partisan Review, Boulevard, Revue Europe and Queen’s Quarterly as well as in the following collections of his work:

  • * Winds of Unreason (1957)
  • * The Night Unstones (1971)
  • * Along the Road from Eden (1989)
  • * The Rhino Gate Poems (1995)
  • * Portes aux rhinos et autres poemes (1997)
  • * Winterfischer (2002)
  • * Morning Gothic (2007)

Ellenbogen’s work has been supported by the Whiting Foundation, the Montalvo Foundation, the Karolyi Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Canadian Department of External Affairs, Gesellschaft fur Kanada Studien, the Canada Council, United States Information Service, and Canadian International Cultural Relations. He has read his poems on both sides of the Atlantic, was featured in a 1990 documentary, “George Ellenbogen: Canadian Poet in America,” and in a graduate dissertation, “Postmodernism and the Travel Motif in the Poetry of Adrienne Rich and George Ellenbogen” (Brigitta Wallenberg, University of Salzburg). He is also one of several poets featured in Jean Tobin’s Creativity and the Poetic Mind (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004). An edition of his new and selected poems, Morning Gothic, is scheduled to appear in September 2007.

“Ellenbogen is an exceptionally interesting poet, capable of mingling perpectives, shifts between the comic and the melancholy, specific landscapes and invented skylines, calm ironies and, on occasion, a hazarding of that rarest of feats nowadays, a plain expression of feeling.” –Robert Taylor, Boston Globe.

“George Ellenbogen…
is a traveler among the poets. His verses emcompass entire continents – Africa, America, Europe…Ellenbogen’s landscapes are often landscapes of the imagination, fragments assembled into a composite picture. Ellenbogen establishes spaces which are partly moored in the facts of reality, partly in the realm of fantasy.” Hans-Christian Oeser, Dublin. Postscripts to Winterfischer, German edition of the Rhino Gates Poems.

Much more on George Ellenbogen can be found here…


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