The King of Terrors by Jim Johnstone

The King of Terrors is a book by Jim Johnstone.
The book cover with a silver outline of a brain with a lime green background
Jim Johnstone wrote The King of Terrors after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. (Coach House Books)

Written after a brain tumour diagnosis early in the pandemic, The King of Terrors is a meditation on living with illness and the forces required to heal. These forces are not always what we expect – they may not even be medical. Jim Johnstone implies that language, relationships, and our immersion in the natural world can free us from the spectre of impending collapse. Haunted by the decimation of the North American landscape and the anxiety of living in a polarized society, Johnstone's poems are bodily reflections that ask how we can reframe our past to make sense of the present. The King of Terrors oscillates between the personal and the public, the clinical and the spiritual, so we're never quite sure what we are seeing, no matter how familiar. (From Coach House Books)

When you can read it: Sept. 26, 2023 

Jim Johnstone is a Toronto-based poet, editor, and critic. He is the author of seven collections of poetry including The Chemical Life, which was shortlisted for the 2018 ReLit Award. Currently, he curates the Anstruther Books imprint at Palimpsest Press, where he published The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry

Johnstone won second prize in the 2008 CBC Literary Awards for poetry with a collection of poems titled Invertebrate Poems. He also made the longlist for the 2012 CBC Poetry Prize for Revenants.