Intentional mistranslations that set a meandering path through the maze of language.
Drawing on the patterns of words, speech, and identity we encounter in the wider world—subway ads in Mexico City, a Dutch-Japanese phrase book, multilingual airplane safety instructions, one of Italo Calvino’s invisible cities—the poems in Hugh Thomas’s Maze playfully translate the maze of language into moments of amazement.
Hugh Thomas‘s work as a mathematician takes him around the world to conferences and residencies, which has contributed to the polylingual mishmash out of which his poetry arises. Hugh has lived in Winnipeg, Toronto, Chicago, London, and Fredericton, and currently resides in Montréal, where he teaches mathematics at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
“A clever, complex debut, Maze will draw you into its labyrinthine, snakelike halls.”—Winnipeg Free Press
“The poems in Maze, as the title suggests, articulate a navigation through language and languages, deliberately allowing for misunderstanding, and opening up the possibility for what might otherwise be impossible.”—Vallum
“Rarely have I been so thrilled to be disoriented by a book of poems. In his feature-length debut, Maze, Hugh Thomas deftly and pleasurably readjusts my brain with his direct, unexpected, and beautifully weird lines. ‘When in a dream, speak the language of the dream,’ he writes. When I finished this book, I woke up fluent and enraptured, happily in the wrong country.”—Stuart Ross, author of Motel of the Opposable Thumbs and A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent
“Exploring the grey area of translation, Albanian Suite is as much a study in intuition as it is a doorway to improvisation… Thomas’ lines are direct and unaccommodating, as if under foreign constraints, yet the linguistics at play resound beyond a surface level of political boundaries.”—Ottawa Poetry Newsletter