For Everyone At The Back


by Kirk Johnson

104 pages

isbn 0-9733499-3-X


for everyone at the back


The immediacy of his lyrical voice, unburdened of hard facts, is established through self-reflective observations. His aesthetic of reassembly is imbued with broader aims: by touching on past social upheavals, today’s present conditions are ingrained with the same subtle prejudices.

bolshevik revolution

During the revolution, a young activist woman loses the cherished book of poems she has carried in her undercoat pocket since the battles began. She referred to it for comfort while hiding-out behind the crumbled ramparts of the citadel. She remembers reading “Notre-Dame” while standing in line for a cup of soup. She penned her first poem on its printed pages shortly after the massacre and inked-in flowers right after the last frost.

For Everyone At The Back is her lost book. Found. It is personal reading for anyone left behind. It is for the servants lined up against the wall and for the destitute in the mess hall on page 102.

In this bold collection, Kirk Johnson is part archivist, biographer and archaeologist. Extracted from speeches, conversations, letters, manifestos and memoirs that chronicle the Bolshevik Revolution and the violent overthrow of the Russian Monarchy, the metrics of his historical method defy tradition. Though grounded in documentation, Johnson is more modern troubadour: his poems are part songs, part folk tales.

Kirk Johnson was born in Hantsport Nova Scotia. He began his career in theatre (Acadia, 1996) before moving to Montréal in the late 1990's to begin an MA in Creative Writing at Concordia University. Montréal became his adopted home, where he co-wrote a guide book about the city. He published his first collection of poems, Companion Pieces (Cumulus Press) in 1999. Johnson later released the chapbook, Rare Poems and Other Oddities (JKL Press). For Everyone at the Back is his second full collection of poetry. He now lives in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley with his wife, Catherine and daughters, Julia Dae and Luna.kirk johnson



I had always wanted
to be a man of large heart
spending large sums
in restaurants, cafés,
music halls,
and in the streets.

I had always wanted
to be a man of large heart
keeping an open house
of mixed company
living at my expense.


other books by Kirk Johnson : Companion Pieces

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