BlazeVOX books

publisher of weird little books

Back Principles: a book of spiritual fatigue by Stephen Bett

Price: $16.00

Back Principles: a book of spiritual fatigue Stephen Bett BlazeVOX [books]

Like all Stephen Bett’s recent books, his 22nd, Back Principles: a book of spiritual fatigue, is a serial poem, “minimalist” in its poetics, and subtle enough to sustain repeated readings. The title is self-explanatory: poems journeying between poles, searching out the buddha and the christ. There are no (cheap) instant gratification I found its here. There never could be of course; it’s all journey, all the time.

Reviews of Stephen Bett’s recent The Gross and Fine Geography: New & Selected Poems:

I do like this type of writing, with its outcome of impropriety: the stumbling, reversals, jesting, equivocality, the wrong beat in the wrong place, the offbeat. As long as the image is diaphanous and the music upright, verbal grandiosity is never needed. The fissure attracts the curious more than the polished stone… From the sidewalk of matter (language) Bett journeys the way to the Divine, and what is divined is immateriality, that which comes betwixt breath and breath. Simply put, Bett is one heaven of a love poet. His poems are about love, the love of woman, the love of justice, the love of music, poetry, and art. He lifts the sidewalk up to the brink on a platform where few care to stand…

In, beneath, and above each single word and space, Stephen Bett’s Selected Poems recalls the story of his experiences; his poems are diary entries, reworked transience. He sings, he screams, he doubts, he cries, he tears everything apart, and then glues the world back together, one piece at a time. From “too many maybes” we venture to something where “it’s like the world turns in the sky.” Matter mutates into Stephen Bett’s jive. Antonio D'Alfonso, Pacific Rim Review of Books

At 180 pages and in the fluorescent coat of many colors―in this corner, author of 18 books and counting―Stephen Bett, linguistic gymnast and parable prognosticator. This is heavyweight stuff. These poems are the onslaught of a simply unrelenting force… You can't pin Bett down because he comes at you from all angles… [The opening] poem pretty much says it all about Stephen Bett's intentions…a statement of purpose writ large. Then Bett puts his foot down and steamrolls us through thirty-one years with his gargantuan and generous voice... [And he] knows how to be a sweetheart and a lovely jazz rat…

The Gross & Fine Geography is a book worthy of all your attention…. Bett burns with the best. Grace, music and beauty along with a few moments of quiet desperation, The Gross & Fine Geography changes gears more than a few times and it is an exciting ride all the way through this rambling taster from Bett's previous books. Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry
Stephen Bett is one of the coolest contemporary poets, and a legend internationally. He has a very interesting linguistic technique with a penchant for jazz and words, and if you ask me, jazz-styled writing is where the best of the best is happening right now. Karl Jirgens, Rampike
I am constantly struck by how strong and pliant Stephen Bett’s line is, the image understated, the music so subtle it dances almost unnoticed. Ken Cathers

STEPHEN BETT is a widely and internationally published Canadian poet. His earlier work is known for its sassy, edgy, hip… caustic wit―indeed, for the askance look of the serious satirist… skewering what he calls the ‘vapid monoculture’ of our times. His more recent books have been called an incredible accomplishment for their authentic minimalist subtlety. Many are tightly sequenced book-length ‘serial’ poems, which allow for a rich echoing of cadence and image, building a wonderfully subtle, nuanced music.
Bett follows in the avant tradition of Don Allen’s New American Poets. Hence the mandate for Simon Fraser University’s “Contemporary Literature Collection” to purchase and archive his “personal papers” for scholarly use. He is recently retired after a 31-year teaching career largely at Langara College in Vancouver, and now lives with his wife Katie in Victoria, BC. For reviews of all his books, and for recent interviews, see

Book Information:

· Paperback: 120 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-310-2


Pre-Orders Welcome


Back Principles - A Book of Spiritual Fatigue by Stephen Bett Book Preview