The Empire’s Missing Links explores a world familiar to readers of Walid Bitar’s previous three books: a world where language is never simple, where the most ordinary words are weapons used against us in the play for private and public power. Resembling a series of unflinchingly ambivalent, and often jarringly enigmatic, history lessons, Bitar’s new poems are rich in original observations about our contemporary unease. The effect, in the end, is of a single wandering monologue, its 21st century sense of crisis encoded in unpredictable quatrains whose evasiveness is always in step with lapidary plainness and metaphorical surprise. The Empire’s Missing Links is Bitar’s darkest, most daring book yet.
Walid Bitar was born in Beirut in 1961. He immigrated to Canada in 1969. His previous poetry collections are Maps with Moving Parts (Brick, 1988), 2 Guys on Holy Land (Wesleyan University Press, 1993), Bastardi Puri (The Porcupine's Quill, 2005) and The Empire's Missing Links (Signal Editions/Vehicule, 2008). He lives in Toronto.