A Year of Last Things: Poems

Written by:
Michael Ondaatje
Narrated by:
Michael Ondaatje

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2024
2 hours 10 minutes
From one of the most influential writers of his generation, a gorgeously surprising poetry collection about memory, history, and the act of looking back

Following several of his internationally acclaimed novels, A Year of Last Things is Michael Ondaatje’s long-awaited return to poetry. In pieces that are sometimes witty, sometimes moving, and always wise, we journey back through time by way of alchemical leaps, unearthing writings by revered masters, moments of shared tenderness, and the abandoned landscapes we hold on to to rediscover the influence of every border crossed.

Moving from a Sri Lankan boarding school to Molière’s chair during his last stage performance, to Bulgarian churches and their icons, to the California coast and his beloved Canadian rivers, Michael Ondaatje casts a brilliant eye that merges memory with the present, in the way memory as the distant shores of art and lost friends continue to influence everything that surrounds him.

From his poem 'His chair, a narrow bed, a motel room, the fox':
     At the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles Sam Cooke was shot dead.
     ‘See that shadow on the wall . . .’ All those motels and hotels
     in literature and song, where X wrote this,
     where Y got drunk, where Z overdosed.
     The one Hank Williams was driven past, dead already in his car.
     The Slavianski Bazaar Hotel in 'The Lady with a Dog,'
     where Dmitri imagines their dark but hopeful future.
     The Hôtel de ville de Courtrai, where Verlaine shot Rimbaud.
     The Casa Verdi in Milan, where retired opera singers were welcomed
     along with various heteronyms of Fernando Pessoa in their afterlife.
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