First Fiction Fridays: A special World Poetry Day edition: The Fleece Era

March 21, 2014

The Fleece Era marks the debut of a strong, new writer who not only explores her own upbringing in England, but the natural world of the Yukon where she and her partner settled some years ago. Joanna Lilley writes about ordinary life and the impact that it has on the world around us. She writes with the kind of details that give autobiography its vividness and texture, but there's also something universal about her work.

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What:

The Fleece Era (Brick Books, 2014)

Who:

Joanna Lilley has lived in Whitehorse, Yukon, since emigrating from the UK in 2006. Her poems and stories have been published in journals and anthologies in Canada and Britain and her awards include first prize in the 2012 Vancouver International Writers Festival poetry contest.

Why you need to read this now:

The Fleece Era marks the debut of a strong, new writer who not only explores her own upbringing in England, but the natural world of the Yukon where she and her partner settled some years ago.

Joanna Lilley writes about ordinary life and the impact that it has on the world around us. She writes with the kind of details that give autobiography its vividness and texture, but there’s also something universal about her work. Her relationship with her parents is distinct, yet relatable, and her love of the physical world includes all rivers and trees rather than just those that surround her.

In the midst of these mutual bonds, Lilley shows great tenderness and wit towards the human condition. Her work originates from love and a need to better understand her feelings and in so doing coming closer to the readers’ feelings as well.

The Fleece Era is arranged in four sections: the paradoxes contained in family relationships, especially when faced with considerable geographical distance; the complexity of the commonplace; the delicacy of relationships with those we have chosen to love; and, lastly, our tug of war with nature. Although these sections are distinct unto themselves, the relational energy builds throughout the book, offering a multi-layered portrait of what it means to be alive in the early years of the twenty-first century.

There are poems about the power shift of having to care for aging parents, about the possibilities that start out defining us until we begin to narrow into our true selves, and about the shocks and blessings that travel brings, revealing things larger than we ever dreamt. There are small portraits of marriage and sprawling collages of North American mountain ranges and the English countryside as well as the more exotic souvenirs that botany, zoology and geology have strewn all over the planet. The voices in these poems offer great clarity to both the mysterious and the familiar.

The Fleece Era contains some beautiful poetry, but has a narrative ease to it that will appeal to readers who don’t usually read poetry. The writing is taut yet deep, brimming with energy and openness.

What other people are saying about The Fleece Era:

“These deeply personal poems contemplate the sharp pain of grief and articulate the fragile nature of love and the environment with a humble and resonant voice.” –Clea Roberts

*****

Thank you to Brick Books for sharing this new poet with us! You can hear Joanna Lilley reading six poems from The Fleece Era in this YouTube clip and read an interview with her on Open Book: Toronto.

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Want more poetry for World Poetry Day? Our publishers have a great selection of new poetry collections coming out this spring! Check them out on our World Poetry Day Pinterest Board.

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Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog


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