A quirky little set of rhymes about a crow with a bad leg blossoms into a free-flying grace of words as the clumsy bird tears free from his boring life in the prairies in search of a bigger destiny. Along the way, Gimp Crow collects a magpie from Alberta and a raven from the West Coast, and learns about love and loss.
This collection takes Turnstone Press back to its original poetry roots, evoking prairie simplicity of language and an unpretentious approach to the age-old themes of self-discovery and yearning for a different life.
Gimp Crow speaks to the reader and establishes his feisty nature. He is simultaneously anthropomorphized into a discontented man, but still a wild crow at one—or at odds—with the hard facts of life for urban wildlife. Kowal effectively illustrates the feel of a wild bird, trapped in a cityscape, exhibiting sharp observations of the exterior world, while also drawing comparisons to the captive human.
Conjuring up the dust-bowl prairie, Hank Williams songs of yearning, and a simple, but meaningful life, Kowal’s story poems bring to life a character that speaks to the heart of any prairie-dweller. Turns of phrase and constant, light-hearted word play make this collection enjoyable and accesible, even to non-poetry readers.
Shortlisted for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer
Kowal's "maturity shows in Gimp Crow's dissonant musicality, its playfulness with language and structure that's undercut but also underlined by the poet's short, tight stanzas."
-- Winnipeg Free Press
"Ken Kowal's full-length debut Gimp Crow is a left-handed doozer of a prairie picaresque. It's rude, wise, sly, and sad. In pulverized rhyme and crabby free verse, Kowal sketches a tale of the eponymous mangled avian and his gals, his pals, his son. Fall asleep beside Gimp Crow, it'll eat your third eye."
--- Colin Smith, author of 8 x 8 x 7
Ken Kowal is a Winnipeg resident who has long been involved in the city’s poetry scene. His chapbook I dream of my father’s hands (1997) was short listed for the Heaven Chapbook award in 1998, and his poems have been featured in the Poetry in Motion project in several cities. He has published two smaller collections of poetry.