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Rienzi Crusz

Rienzi Winston Gerald Crusz was born in Galle, Sri Lanka in 1925 and educated at the Universities of Ceylon (B.A.), London (England), Toronto (B.L.S.), and Waterloo (M.A.). Prior to his retirement, he worked for many years as a librarian at the University of Waterloo. In addition to poetry, Crusz has written several guides for library users, including a bibliography of Ralph Nader. Crusz continued to live in Waterloo, Ontario until his death on September 8, 2017.
 Beatitudes of Ice book cover


Beatitudes of Ice: Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 1995.

Toronto: Elvin Hill Pub., 2008.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Here is a work characterized by brilliant images, fine control of form, and a nimble touch with sound and language, displaying a sensibility in which the contraries of light and dark, elephant and ice, home and exile, don’t simply clash but achieve a playful coexistence, and laughter [triumphs] over despair.


Elephant and Ice

Erin, Ont.: Porcupine’s Quill, 1980.
Limited ed. of 500 copies.


Enough to be Mortal Now: Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 2009.
PS8555 .R87 E56 2009

Publisher’s Synopsis

In this volume … Crusz’s preoccupations have not substantially changed, but his perspectives have. Deeply conscious of time and place, now, he brings here the broader existential concerns of love, hope, and mortality, and tragedy and despair. Nature provides a backdrop for inspiration and tranquility.


Flesh and Thorn

Drawings by Virgil Burnett.
Stratford, Ont.: Pasdeloup Press, 1974.
Limited ed. of 500 copies.


Gambolling with the Divine

Toronto: TSAR, 2003.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In his tenth collection of poetry, Rienzi Crusz attempts to track and document his faltering human journey towards God and the Divine.  Reflecting a devotional tradition professionally catholic as well as South Asian (bhakti), these poems are witness to a personal love of God and the frailty of the human loves.  Gambolling with the Divine is the Augustinian confessions retold with brilliantly vivid Sri Lankan and Canadian variations. As always, the work bears ample evidence of Crusz’s unerring gift for language and brilliant image.


How to Dance in this Rarefied Air: Poems

Introduction by Linda Hutcheon.
Toronto: Mawenzi House, 2017.
PS8555 .R87 H69 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

How to Dance in this Rarefied Air offers select and new poems setting out his journey as a poet writing in Canada since the 1970s. It offers a poetics fashioned to meet the demands of writing on the cusp between two worlds, hence the songs of exile, the idioms of defiance and survival, a poetry fashioned to meet the existential concerns of the immigrant encounter. But Crusz has gone beyond the theme of mere displacement, by confronting themes such as love, politics, nature, God, and poetics itself. And always there remains the self-conscious, bordering on the postmodern, and, above all, a delightful irony.


Insurgent Rain: Selected Poems

Selected and introduced by Chelva Kanaganayakam.
Toronto: TSAR, 1997.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

A collection of Crusz’s most important poems written over two decades [1974-1996].


Lord of the Mountain: The Sardiel Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 1999.


The Rain Doesn’t Know Me Anymore: Poems

Toronto: TSAR, 1992.
PS8555 .R87 R35 1992


Singing Against the Wind

Erin, Ont.: Porcupine’s Quill, 1985.
PS8555 .R87 S56 1985


Still Close to the Raven

Toronto: TSAR, 1989.
Waterloo, Ont.: Elvin Hill Pub., 2008. (2nd ed.)


A Time for Loving

Toronto: TSAR, 1986.

 Dark Antonyms and Paradise book cover

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Blackburn, Di Gan . “Rienzi Crusz.” In Asian American Poets: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, ed. Guiyou Huang, [89]-91. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.
PS153 .A84 A826 2002

Chilana, Rajwant Singh. “Rienzi Crusz.” In South Asian Writers in Canada: A Bio-Bibliographical Study. Surrey, BC: Asian Publications, 2017, 263.
Z1376 .S68 C45 2017

Kananganayakam, Chelva. Dark Antonyms and Paradise: The Poetry of Rienzi Crusz. Toronto: TSAR, 1997.
PS85555 .R87 Z72 1997

Kandiuk, Mary. “Rienzi Crusz.” In Caribbean and South Asian Writers in Canada: A Bibliography of Their Works and of English-language Criticism. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2007, 41-44.
PS8089.5 .C37 K36 2007

Mukherjee, Arun. “The poetry of Rienzi Crusz: Songs of an Immigrant.” In Oppositional Aesthetics: Readings from a Hyphenated Space. Toronto: TSAR, 1994, 133-143.
PS8089.5 .M5 M85 1994


Publisher Mawenzi House (formerly TSAR)