Adam Dickinson mixes his words like a chemist mixes solutions. Deliberately side-stepping traditional contexts allows him to follow new directions and find original angles. There is great ambition in his work, keen as he is to explore areas of the language which don’t usually belong to poetry. These are mainly the sciences, which he eagerly appropriates in his work. The results are unexpected and explosive.
Reading Dylan Thomas was what prompted Adam Dickinson to write. He ‘published’ his earliest poems by throwing them into the Georgian Bay in a bottle. Since starting to (professionally) publish collections, he has worked in a very focussed and programmatic way. His first collection, Cartography and Walking (2002) approaches nature poetry from the perspective of the map. Its sequel, Kingdom, Phylum (2007) can be read as a study in ecology and biology. His latest collection, The Polymers (2013), is focussed mainly on chemistry. The polymers of the title form long chains of atoms, for example of DNA, but also of many plastics. The collection’s various sections are named after polymers and its contents page is designed to resemble molecular models. For a future project, he is currently researching chemicals and bacteria in his own body.
Adam Dickinson is a poetry lecturer at Brock University in Canada, where he also teaches creative writing and literature.
Cartography and Walking, Brick Books, London, Ontario, 2002
Kingdom, Phylum, Brick Books, London, Ontario, 2006
The Polymers, House of Anansi Press, Toronto, 2013