Cane Fire

By Shani Mootoo

Cane Fire
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From internationally celebrated writer and visual artist Shani Mootoo comes Cane | Fire, an immersive and vivid collection that marks a long-awaited return to poetry.

Throughout this evocative, sensual collection, akin to a poetic memoir, past and present are in conversation ... Read more


Overview

From internationally celebrated writer and visual artist Shani Mootoo comes Cane | Fire, an immersive and vivid collection that marks a long-awaited return to poetry.

Throughout this evocative, sensual collection, akin to a poetic memoir, past and present are in conversation with each other as the narrator moves from Ireland to San Fernando, and finally to Canada. The reinterpretations and translation of this journey and its associated family history give meaning to the present. Through these deeply personal poems, and Mootoo's own artwork, we begin to understand how a life can not only be shaped, but even reimagined.

Shani Mootoo

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland, grew up in Trinidad, and lives in Canada. She holds an MA in English from the University of Guelph, writes fiction and poetry, and is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Mootoo's critically acclaimed novels include Polar Vortex, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, Valmiki's Daughter, He Drown She in the Sea, and Cereus Blooms at Night. She is a recipient of the K.M. Hunter Arts Award, a Chalmers Fellowship Award, and the James Duggins Outstanding Midcareer Novelist Award. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and includes the collection, The Predicament of Or. In 2021 Mootoo was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Western University. Her work has been long- and shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Dublin IMPAC Award, and the Booker Prize. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Awards

  • Scotiabank Giller Prize 1996, Short-listed
  • Booker Prize 1996, Long-listed
  • Scotiabank Giller Prize 2020, Short-listed
  • Scotiabank Giller Prize 2008, Long-listed
  • Amazon Canada First Novel Award 1996, Short-listed
  • Scotiabank Giller Prize 2014, Long-listed
  • Ethetl Wilson Prize Fiction Prize 1996, Short-listed
  • Dublin IMPAC Award 2005, Long-listed
  • Lambda Literary Award 2014, Short-listed

Reviews

"Mootoo immerses her reader in Caribbean registers, layering text and family photographs with artwork featuring Hindu goddesses and gods. Making the quotidian sacred, she transports us to a Trinidad where the 'sitar hunts' and 'blind birds flew through cane-fire sweetened air. ' Her poetic gift is to teach us how to read anew, trusting the'image-language' of art and poetry to speak of grief, family, and displacement, but also joy and renewal. " —Quill and Quire

"Mootoo's artworks, most of which feature some sort of collage and reassembly, shift the effects of memory, of line, of sound, of relation and amplify the transformative possibilities of these poems. " —Winnipeg Free Press

"Shani Mootoo’s recursive rhythms entrap us. Here are portraits—ripped, coloured in, mirrored, crossed out, hybridized. Here is anti-history, fractal geography, 'an escarpment of logic / a story told / falling. ' Cane | Fire is a powerful and deeply intelligent confrontation of self and what is sustained in the embers. " —Madhur Anand, Governor General's Literary Award-winning author of This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart

"From the first exquisite poems to the collection's lyrical and vulnerable culmination, Shani Mootoo undertakes a daunting and necessary vision: to extricate personal history and recast it. What emerges is bravely unruly, with viscerally felt lines that merge evocatively with Mootoo's visual art. This work dissolves the stuffy confines of poetry, not needing to be 'anything but [its] majestic self. '" —Doyali Islam, author of heft

"Mootoo uses verse, space and art to create the images and feelings here in the collection, to great effect. . . Holding this book, and experiencing the way the art is laid out on the page was a true experience by itself. " —Miramichi Reader

 

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