Book Trailer Song of the Taxidermist

Song of the Taxidermist 2011

Goose Lane Editions

Song of the Taxidermist explores our simultaneous fascination and unease with the body’s independence, its resistance to the self’s colonizing imperative. The poem, “The Swimmers” for example, was inspired by Betty Goodwin’s quality of intentional ambiguity, wherein the viewer cannot be certain whether her subjects are swimming, or whether they are in fact drowning, and whether choice is exercised in either event. The physicality of Goodwin’s work, its incessant focus on the body both as receptacle and representation served as inspiration and structure for the poem.

“Song of the Taxidermist” I and II were based on archival research and personal interviews. In this suite of poems, Haller draws on the stories of famous taxidermied specimens such as the celebrated French giraffe, Zarafe, and the Alaskan sled dog, Togo.

"Haller's poetry resonates with beauty's subjectivity, the ephemeral lean of a basement plant toward the light, the ur-dream the artist struggles to disassemble. From Rauschenberg's goat to taxidermists' philosophy, these poems roam through our collective desire to tilt the world into something that shines, something that burnishes the lawn with dewy hoof prints and over-exposures." — Tammy Armstrong, author of The Scare in the Crow

"What are poems if not houses? Aurian Haller ponders in Song of the Taxidermist. Certainly his are spaces to dwell in, but further, they ‘house' evocative installations of found objects chosen to find or re-arrange us. In this living museum, Haller exhibits poems of such inviting mystery, I know I'll visit often." — John Barton, author of Hymn

"Reading the title sequence when it first appeared three years ago triggered waves of admiration that still resonate, and this collection renews their intensity. The poems wow with their flawless skins, masterfully assembled skeletons, and intelligent conception and curation, then unsettle as Haller's probings transform the seen and the studied into the unexpected." — Stephanie Bolster, author of Pavilion

"Taxidermy is the unlikely focus of Aurian Haller's outstanding collection, Song of the Taxidermist . . . Haller uses couplets that are as sharp as a scalpel to present his subjects, and his lyrical tact is superb . . . Haller's intellectual brilliance is made clear by his poems about the nature of language, gathered wittily as "Speechless": another set of poems in precise couplets. Cleaverness does not trump feelings in the book: the reader never knows when a descriptive poem will open vistas of terror or create pathos." — The Montreal Review of Books 

"What we call our own tends to tell a very unique story. Song of the Taxidermist is a collection of poetry from Aurian Haller as he offers his own lyrical and musical nature and distills it into a unique poetry experience as he offers his thoughts on the possessions we value in our life and the values it expresses for us. Song of the Taxidermist is intriguing and very highly recommended reading, not to be missed by poetry collections looking for something quite different. — Midwest Book Review 

"As precise in image and form as they are raw in subject, Haller's poems are acts of preservation. Peering through delicate tissues -- bodies, memories, paintings, dwellings, language -- Haller performs a metaphoric taxidermy that animates the shared surfaces between the living and the dead." — Winnipeg Free Press

"Aurian Haller's latest book is poignant and vibrant...Onto the frozen corpses of sled dogs and giraffes, Haller layers observations and associations in a sort of verbal over-painting.  The result: dense works that tap into a vibrant, living art." — Here Magazine

"He describes and reflects on not just what he sees, but the full experience of each painting.  These are visceral, honest and, perhaps most importantly, relatable responses...Those familiar with the breadth and depth of Betty Goodwin's body of work will appreciate the line as well as the whole effort made in this section.  Those unfamiliar may well seek out Goodwin's work after reading Haller's poems." — Telegraph Journal

 "Aurian Haller offers readers an unsettling yet riveting collection in Song of the Taxidermist." — The Daily Gleaner

 "[Haller achieves] great strength and richness...through striking imagery, careful selction of details and a deft use of fragments and juxtapositions."  — John Steffler, Arc Poetry Magazine

A Dream of Sulphur


"In Aurian Haller's poetry, the mist is part of the machinery on the West Coast, along with the hoppers and flumes, fish knives and wharves. The might behind his metaphors is earned and appropriate; developed by a toil that looks for and finds freedom in new demands, new details of the task, outlined in land, sea and air. He proves that the mountains of labour to be done have a mind behind them, and that each person can lay their hand to the tools that transform a cyclical depression of industry and emotion into a new life." George McWhirter, poet and novelist, author of Catalan Poems and Cage.

"A Dream of Sulphur is a journey across an expansive geography of place, time and language - between the western interior plateaus and downtown Montreal, between generations, continents, languages. In the end, Aurian Haller's lyrical voice arrives at a place of acceptance, where words are no longer rooted in time or place, but in the heart. These are the verses of a poet who has learned to make music from the rough and the overlooked." Laisha Rosnau, Prism

"The most attractive book in the Hugh MacLennan poetry series, of nearly a dozen so far, has to be Aurian Haller's A Dream of Sulphur. First poetry collections are always an exciting risk, especially knowing nothing of the author's work previously. Haller's energy is quiet, slow and grounded in the real; a Group of Seven geography with a west coast slant...The poems in A Dream of Sulphur are clean, clear and deliberate, and hit full on the mark in lines that ease into themselves." Rob Mclennan, The Antigonish Review



Wolf at the Door

The Aurian Haller Band: House of Words
The Aurian Haller Band: The Dark Room

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House of Words

"Language is the house of Being." - Martin Heidegger

The Aurian Haller Band