In this collection, husbands and wives stumble into each other at the end of days, children find the wild edges of suburbs, new mothers try to navigate through a map-less terrain, and a relentless epidemic of bugs eats away at the forest. The collection explores new territory, both physically and emotionally--relocation, the north, new marriage and motherhood--in a way that is honest, raw and insightful.
"In two years, I went from being a single girl living in a studio downtown Vancouver to being a married mother in the suburbs of a northern town. We arrived in the north in the middle of an epidemic of pine beetles that was literally eating away the forest around us, leaving the landscape exposed and raw. I wanted to write about people doing this in their own lives--entering into new territory, stumbling and blundering, but also opening themselves up for change and transformation, for new life. "
Laisha Rosnau is the author of The Sudden Weight of Snow (McClelland and Stewart, 2002), which was an honourable mention for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Rosnau’s first collection of poetry, Notes on Leaving (Nightwood, 2004), won the 2005 Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award. Her second, Lousy Explorers (Nightwood, 2009), was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award for best book of poetry by a Canadian woman. Her most recent book of poetry, Pluck (Nightwood, 2014), was nominated for the national Raymond Souster Award. Rosnau teaches fiction and poetry at UBC, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Film School and Okanagan College. She and her family are the resident caretakers of Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary in Coldstream, BC.
Rosnau steps out into the unforgiving light of a once-shaded forest and shows us the growing pains of transition through marriage, relocation, motherhood. Exposed, expanding, these are poems on the verge of eruption, as they wait in the aftermath of a pine beetle epidemic, in the lack of a forest that once was.
--Jennifer Still, Winnipeg Free Press
As imagery goes, it is difficult to recall someone I have recently encountered as talented as Rosnau . .. Every reader will feel an instant kinship with [her] presentation of the ordinary and miraculous, and it is impossible to read one poem without instantly jumping to the next. The straightforward, pure beauty of these poems will resonate with you long after your first (and second, and third) reading.
--Rhiannon Rogstad, The Goose
Rosnau's poems are never content with mere fantasies of suburban prettiness. She brings a psychological depth and gravitas reminiscent of William Stafford's or James Dickey's disturbed rural precincts into the residential corridors of southern British Columbia, and that makes me very happy. [Ranked as one of Vermeersch's
favourite poetry collections of 2009].
--Paul Vermeersch, author of The Reinvention of the Human Hand and Between the Walls
Her keen sense of observation remains undiminished, and its subsequent translation to her verse elicits a wide range of responses from the reader. She writes wryly and with confidence.
Laisha Rosnau's wonderful second collection Lousy Explorers takes as its epigraph the final stanza of Gwendolyn MacEwen's "Dark Pines Under Water": "But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper/ And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper/In an elementary world;/There is something down there and you want it told. " Her poems are about women who are sinking, who have left one place for another, who have embarked upon new journeys and new lives in ways that are subtle or otherwise.
Pickle Me This
In language assured and eloquent, Laisha Rosnau offers an edgy, big-hearted plunge into those moments of shift that show us at our most human. And reminds us that how one accommodates oneself to change, how one embraces and lives inside it, is a mark of one's humanity.
--Marnie Parsons, The Globe and Mail