In this stunning first collection of poems, Noah Blaustein’s narrators face the complexities that shape a life: adolescence, fatherhood, our responsibility for the lives of others, the exhilaration of romantic love, and memory. These anxious, frequently witty poems flirt with physical danger, with grief and happiness, and with mortality as a means to transcend the mundane in our day-to-day lives. As the parent narrator says at the end of “Rave On”: “This / life of mine I now know / is no longer mine to take away.” While the narrator believes that there’s no person “that doesn’t benefit from some pain,” this evocative collection proves that life is both pain and comfort, and ends on a prayer of hope for the speaker’s children: “This is a prayer / for my children asleep in their bunk beds. . . . / May they never acquire / death’s thin cello wire, / what connects my cortex to my toes, what plays / memory’s midnight wrong song. . . . / There is beautiful music / out there. There is beautiful music.”
From a sequence, "The Countries Surrounding the Garden of Eden":Gihon, that compasseth the whole landAt the first frost we found our sheep with strangled hearts, lying on their backs in the frozen clover, their eyes wide open as if they were surprised by a constellation of drought or endless winter. The wolves walked into the snow, like men who have given up living without love; cows would no longer let go of their calves, hiding them deep in the birch groves. Everywhere the roads gave off their wild animal cries, running toward the edge of what we had thought was the world. And the names of things as we knew them would no longer bring them to us.
A celebrated French bestseller, this novel in verse that captures the mundane and the beautiful, the blood and sweat, of working on the factory floor in the processing plants and abattoirs of Brittany.
Unable to find work in his field, Joseph Ponthus enlists with a temp agency and starts to pick up casual shifts in the fish processing plants and abattoirs of Brittany. Day after day he records with infinite precision the nature of work on the production line: the noise, the weariness, the dreams stolen by the repetitive nature of exhausting rituals and physical suffering. But he finds solace in a life previously lived.
Shelling prawns, he dreams of Alexandre Dumas. Pushing cattle carcasses, he recalls Apollinaire. And, in the grace of the blank spaces created by his insistent return to a new line of text – mirroring his continued return to the production line – we discover the woman he loves, the happiness of a Sunday, Pok Pok the dog, the smell of the sea.
In this celebrated French bestseller, translated by Stephanie Smee, Ponthus captures the mundane, the beautiful and the strange, writing with an elegance and humour that sit in poignant contrast with the blood and sweat of the factory floor. On the Line is a poet's ode to manual labour, and to the human spirit that makes it bearable.
Praise for On the Line:
'Poetic and political, lyrical and realistic, Joseph Ponthus' spirited elegy is at once surprising, captivating and affecting' Télérama
'It is not every day that one witnesses the birth of a writer' France 5 La Grande Librairie
'A work that is powerful, clever, benevolent, optimistic even. Essential reading' Causette
Winner of the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
In 2010, Catherine Owen’s 29-year-old spouse died of a drug addiction. A year later, she relocated to an apartment by the Fraser River in Vancouver, B.C. As she moved beyond the initial shock, the river became her focus: a natural, damaged space that both intensifies emotion and symbolizes healing. In a sequence of aubades, or dawn poems, Owen records the practice of walking by or watching the river every morning, a routine that helps her engage in the tough work of mourning. Riven (a word that echoes river and means rift) is an homage to both a man and an ecosystem threatened by the presence of toxins and neglect. Yet, it is also a song to the beauty of nature and memory, concluding in a tribute to Louise Cotnoir’s long poem The Islands with a piece on imagined rivers. While Designated Mourner honors grief, Riven focuses on modes of survival and transformation through looking outward, and beyond.
Winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters Award and the Cuffer Prize for Fiction
Miscreations, the second collection by Grant Loveys, mulls over the metaphorical concept of miscreation — how people, objects, and relationships are imperfectly designed by their various creators — through the use of direct, visceral language, and frank, sometimes shocking, imagery.
Unconcerned with aesthetic imperfections, Miscreations focuses instead on how people and situations can be created from unstable, often opposing, elements and examines how these people and situations manage to survive. This is poetry that looks beyond a misprinted shirt and deep into the person wearing it . . . beyond empty memes and Instagram platitudes and into the complicated, flawed and searching human readers who navigate a world that is often at odds with itself.
Lightning Shades traverses the mysteries of existence, from the ambiguities that lie within our inner lives, to the liminal spaces we occupy throughout life and death, sleeping and waking, growth and decay, and all the paradoxes that abound within those realms. Jessica Raschke's poetry holds us tenderly as it explores how we are haunted and haunting. With beauty and grace, it reminds us to pay attention to our lives, loves and losses at every turn.
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