John Lent

John Lent has been publishing poetry, fiction and non-fiction nationally and internationally for the past thirty years.  His work has appeared in various issues of: The Malahat Review, Event, West Coast Line, NeWest Review, Grain, Prairie Fire, CV2, The New Quarterly, This Magazine, The Canadian Forum, Matrix, Waves, Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review. He has published eight books of poetry and fiction and a book of conversations with Robert Kroetsch about the writing life, called Abundance.  His last novel, So It Won’t Go Away, was short-listed for the BC Book Prizes in 2005, and Thistledown Press released a volume of Lent’s poems called Cantilevered Songs in 2009 that was long-listed for the Re-Lit Award that year.  A novel, The Path To Ardroe, was released by Thistledown Press in the spring of 2012.

Lent has read his from his work in France, England and the USA, and has given Canada Council Readings of his work across Canada over the past twenty-five years, most recently in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Victoria. He has taught Creative Writing & Literature at various institutions in this country for the past forty years, and has, most recently, taught at The Sage Hill Writing Experience and The Victoria School of Writing.  He has been writer in residence at Red Deer College and a resident writer at The Wallace Stegner House and The Leighton Artists Colony at The Banff Centre For The Arts. His most recent novel, The Path To Ardroe, is a novel that has taken over a decade to write and surfaces from experiences Lent had living in Strasbourg, France, in 1988, and Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1995.

Aesthetically, Lent will tell you that he has specialized in exploring the narrative forms connected to the genre of stream of consciousness fiction.  He strives for a unique, unprecedented intimacy in his writing that comes from years of playing with different ways to represent subjectivity/consciousness in narrative,and years of studying writers like Malcolm Lowry, James Joyce, Céline, Margaret Laurence and Alistair Macleod.  Lent has published and presented critical articles on spatial form in these kinds of  narrative in the work of Thomas DeQuincey, Malcolm Lowry, Kristjana Gunnars, Mavis Gallant, Wilfred Watson, Sheila Watson & Robert Kroetsch.  Lent considers The Path To Ardroe to be a breakthrough result of all this work and hopes to reach a wide audience through it.

Lent lives in Vernon, BC, with his wife, the artist Jude Clarke, and plays in The Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio, a jazz and roots group.  He is one of the founders of Kalamalka Press and The Kalamalka Institute For Working Writers, and though he has taught Creative Writing and Literature classes for years, and served as the Regional Dean, North Okanagan, for Okanagan College, for the past five years, John Lent is currently, and happily, retired.




80 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available


Cantilevered Songs

ISBN: 978-1-897235-66-9

Readers familiar with John Lent’s work will be drawn into Cantilevered Songs by his impressive ability to make poetry useful, not in the sense that it will solve problems, or create codes or alibis for how live. No. Useful in the sense that we all live somewhere, come from somewhere, hear things, see other things, and remember. When we share this with others as writers do, we transform the ordinary. We make it magical; make it important. This is Lent’s gift – to remind us all that we have lives worth thinking about; to remind us that our own backyards, roads home, work, play and love are uncommon wonders. This is what he means when he says: “Play that song. Play it again. Now, improvise,”

Lent’s poetry gains its energy from his own recognition of its usefulness as much as it gains its art from his own experiences with music, art, family friends and the his work as a teacher, musician and writer in the Okanagan. And while it is important to recognize his structured play with visual architecture, to make the poems resemble what they observe, to capture the cadence of those crazy personal mysteries, to hear the backbeat moments of when you catch a big and strange idea sideways and then it disappears, in the end it is the small, but beautiful, epiphany of feeling triumphant for no reason other than you have lived.

"I can think of no Canadian writer who so thoroughly positions us in front of the mirror that might offer us at once both reality and the imagined. It is to Lent that I turn when I need to be reminded, when I need to discover again, how the writer works in the daily world of place while aspiring to what endures.
He is there, the writer writing out of and in the present." — Robert Kroetsch

  • Longlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award for Poetry


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