The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, by Michael Ondaatje, won the 1970 Governor General's Literary Award for prose and poetry.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, by Michael Ondaatje, won the 1970 Governor General's Literary Award for prose and poetry. Ondaatje's hauntingly disturbing evocation of the life and death of the 19th-century American outlaw placed him in the forefront of the new generation of Canadian poets emerging in the 1970s. The Collected Works commences with a list of 20 men killed by Billy the Kid and a foreshadowing of his own death. Using a highly visual, visceral poetic style featuring violent surreal images of madness and men killed in gun fights, shifts in time and perspective, and impressionistic fragments of Billy's existence, Ondaatje traces his capture, escape and eventual death at the hands of Pat Garrett, the "ideal assassin." Following the publication of The Collected Works by House of Anansi in 1970, a dozen major productions of a stage adaptation were held across Canada.