A Review of Landings, Poems from Iceland, in The Ormsby Review

Today brings Luanne Armstrong’s review of my new book Landings. Thank you, Luanne!

It’s fascinating to see my book make her way out into the world like this! And Luanne picks up on a theme that slid right past my attention, the close relationship to this book and my CBC Prize-winning poem “Saying the Names Shanty.” You can read it here on the long-list for the prize: https://www.cbc.ca/books/literaryprizes/saying-the-names-shanty-by-harold-rhenisch-1.4371756.You can read the story of the poem in the post I made when it was short-listed: https://haroldrhenisch.com/2017/11/08/saying-the-name-shanty-nominated-for-2007-cbc-poetry-prize/ And now Al’s great poem is alive again in Iceland! That’s not bad for a bunch of Canadian poets! Thanks, Al.

The Poet Al Purdy Getting into the Groove

You can buy the book here, or order it from Audrey’s Books or SaskBooks. See? You are just a click away from the eagle troll guarding Arnarstapi (Eagle Sea Stack) Harbour.

And since we’re talking names here, one lovely thing about Icelandic is it’s English with an old twist (or English is really bad Icelandic.) It goes like this:


Arn = Ern, the old word for eagle (eagle and eyrie both come from ern)

-ar is a grammatical connector, much like the ‘s in “eagle’s.” (But not quite.)

Stapi = Staple, in the sense of the little bent piece of metal that holds paper together. It seems odd, but the dear little thing is really named after the pile it holds, which is a stack. (In German, it’s simple. A stack is just a staple, and that’s that.) So, it’s a stack, a geological term for a stranded piece of a sea cliff, eroded away from behind.

So, yeah, Eagle Sea Stack, or Arnarstapi.