Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

Motel of the Opposable Thumbs

Motel of the Opposable Thumbs

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  • world (outside Canada/US) orders US $18

In Motel of the Opposable Thumbs, Stuart Ross continues to ignore trends in Canadian poetry, and further follow the journey he began over four decades ago with his discoveries of the works of Stephen Crane, E. E. Cummings, Nelson Ball, Ron Padgett, Victor Coleman, Tom Clark, Nicanor Parra, Joe Rosenblatt, and David McFadden. Over the years, his influences have snowballed: Lisa Jarnot, Alice Burdick, Richard Huttel, Opal Louis Nations, Joanne Kyger, Bill Knott, Max Jacob, Larry Fagin, Heather Christle, Charles North, Emily Petit, Paul Guest, James Tate, Valéry Larbaud, Joe Brainard, “Matthew Zapruder, Harryette Mullen, Dara Wier, Dag T. Straumsvåg, Mark Strand, Wislawa Szymborska, Mary Ruefle, John Ashbery, Sommer Browning, Jim Smith, Benjamin Peret, Renee Gladman, and more. In this eclectic, pleasurable gathering of poems and sequences, Mr. Ross unapologetically leaps from howls of grief and despair to zany incursions into surrealism and the absurd. He embraces this panoply of approaches to respond to our cantankerous existential dilemma. All that, and it’s structured after Bela Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4! Get a room and enjoy.

“An admirably light touch: a democratic sense that all risks are created equal; an irrepressible need to play the clown, even when it results in self-sabotage; Ross’s stylistic hallmarks are on full display in Motel of the Opposable Thumbs.
— Jesse Eckerlin, Quill & Quire


“[With Pockets,] Stuart Ross develops a fragmentary, dreamlike novel that is startling, sometimes silly and marbled with melancholy.”
— Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press

“The wit and irreverent wisdom of Stuart Ross has been a mainstay of Canadian poetry for years, but in A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent we also see him at his most vulnerable … grappling with our mystifying world with his trademark affection and fury.”
— Adam Sol, Canadian Jewish Literary Awards citation

“Stuart Ross has been publishing his irreverent poems of surrealist comedy for almost 40 years. But [in A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent] there’s also a touching current of angst about mortality, loss and fleeting nature of what we hold most dear.”
— Barb Carey, Toronto Star

“Stuart Ross has been the most original and imaginative voice in Canadian poetry for some time.”
— Michael Dennis, Today’s book of poetry

  • Publication: May 2019
  • ISBN: 978-1-77214-126-9
  • Pages: 144 pp.
  • Size: 5 x 9 inches

Stuart Ross is a writer, editor, writing teacher, and small press guerrilla living in Cobourg, Ontario. The recipient of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize and the 2010 Relit Prize for Short Fiction, among others, Stuart is the author of over twenty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, most recently The Book of Grief and Hamburgers (ECW Press, 2022) and 70 Kippers: The Dagmar Poems (with Michael Dennis; Proper Tales Press, 2020). Stuart has taught workshops in schools across the country and was Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa. His work has been translated into French, Norwegian, Slovene, Russian, Spanish, and Estonian. I Am Claude François and You Are a Bathtub is his third collection of short fiction.

Books by Stuart Ross