There is loneliness in these poems, and a rueful sense of loss. But the speaker isn’t ever really alone. Friends and kin and anonymous citizens of the broad-backed metropolis on the St. Lawrence hover at the peripheries of the verses, between the lines and in the shadows of Athena’s photographs. And of course so do the readers. We are under Katz’s spell and also in his company, both in the particular places he revisits and—lucky for us—on the larger one-way journey from which there is, truly, no turning back.

— From original foreword by A.O. Scott

NO TURNING BACK by Michael Katz

No Turning Back is a book of poetry by Michael Katz. This collection of 30 poems is accompanied by photographs taken in Quebec by Athena Arnell. Working together, Arnell and Katz collaborated to create images that both illustrate the poems and conjure up the emotions and imagery that the poems elicit. The foreword is written by New-York Times film critic A.O. Scott, who also served as a literary critic for the New York Review of Books and Slate magazine.

No Turning Back is an homage to Katz’s upbringing and a love letter to his hometown of Montreal. Katz grew up in Montreal in the 1970s, during the turmoil of the separatist movement in Quebec. His childhood memories are bound to the cultural zeitgeist of the Anglo-Jewish community, which, even then, had begun its exodus from Quebec. Katz left his beloved Montreal and the serene beauty of the Laurentian Mountains for the United States in 1984.

No Turning Back speaks to the feelings, experiences, and identities that persist in all persons yearning for continuity with their past. A.O. Scott illuminates this point in his foreword,relating Katz’s poetics to that of Irving Layton and his sensibility to that of Leonard Cohen. Scott identifies Katz as an exciting new voice in Canadian poetry, stating “[These poems] evoke Canada in overt and subtle ways, giving voice to a history and a feeling of place that cannot be falsified. There is a deep understanding of snow and cold, a ‘mind of winter’ specific to Quebec. As for youth, the poems shine with newly achieved mastery. Their dazzling eclecticism, their alternating fealty to and impatience with the constraints of genre and form, their tropism toward the language of childhood—these are among the hallmarks of a poetic vocation in the process of discovering itself.”

Michael Katz currently resides in Orange County, California. This is his first book of poetry.

No Turning Back is published in Canada by Montreal-based Thirty Torches Publishing in collaboration with Hat & Beard Projects, the special projects division of the LA-based print collective.

No Turning Back will be released in November, 2016
Foreword by A. O. Scott
Published by Thirty Torches Publishing and Hat & Beard Projects
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