The Order in Which We Do Things
The Poetry of Tom Wayman
Paper 112 pp.
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Tom Wayman’s poetry has been published around the world to great
acclaim. Wayman is one of Canada’s most prolific and public
poets, and his writing since the 1960s has been by turns angry, engaged,
hopeful, tender, and hilarious. His voice and persona are his alone
but simultaneously ours too. His recurring themes—work, mortality,
love, lust, friendship, the natural world—make his work a poetry
of human inevitabilities, a poetry that exults in the inevitability
of seeing poetry in the everyday.
Wayman’s craft is poïesis (from the Ancient Greek “to make”)—making a change, making a difference, making a ruckus, making the most of our time. His working life has always been inextricable from his writing one; his poems offer an honest and candid consideration of the ideological underpinnings, practical realities, and subtle beauties of a life lived on job sites and picket lines, in union halls, classrooms, and book-stuffed offices, and on the page itself.
The Order in Which We Do Things is a collection of more than thirty of Wayman’s best poems, selected and introduced by Owen Percy. Percy’s introduction explores the genesis of Wayman’s print persona and contextualizes his politically engaged, conversational voice within the pantheon of its various publics. In his afterword, “Work and Silence,” Wayman reflects on his more than forty years in print as a work poet, and underlines poetry’s sustained power to engage readers, invite solidarity, and stoke the fires of critical resistance to the order in which we do things.
Owen Percy is a teacher, writer, editor, and critic of North American and postcolonial literature. He earned his Ph.D. in Canadian literature and literary culture from the University of Calgary in 2010. He is a professor of literary studies at Sheridan College in Brampton, Ontario
Tom Wayman has published nineteen poetry collections, edited six anthologies of poets writing about their employment, and published three collections of essays on labour arts. He has taught at the post-secondary level in the United States and Canada and co-founded the Vancouver Industrial Writers Union and the Vancouver Centre of the Kootenay School of Writing. Wayman has been the recipient of several significant literary awards over his career, most recently the 2013 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry for his book Dirty Snow.
“Wayman...believes that poetry exists beyone ‘the money economy’ and because of this freedom it creates the highest potential to drive social change. His concerns are humanist and folksy, infused with the moral responsibility of integrity. This series, because of its...scope and space...allows the reader to see how Wayman’s immersions in these moral concerns have developed and morphed from those of the lowly factory worker to those of acute environmental observance. Always the poems are permeated by intense attention to...a sense of justice.”
— Micheline Maylor, Alberta Views