An award-winning poet's day-book of poems, where both bounty and loss are tenderly assigned value.
Marlene Cookshaw, in her first collection of poetry in more than a decade, invites her readers to partake in a long-anticipated harvest that comes in many forms. Whether she's haying June-high grasses, relishing a neighbour's gift of new potatoes with her husband, logging fragments of poetry she's read in a notebook, or honouring the deaths of her parents, Cookshaw works an open field. Through this pastorale wander dogs, horses, chickens, and donkeys in counterpoint to farm labourers and long-time residents who share in her abiding connection to the land they mutually watch over and tend. The power grid may fail while every monthly expense is brought to account, but observation as careful and particular as Cookshaw's more than weighs the seasons that it seeks to bring into balance.
I plan how the next will differ,
will more resemble what
I want a life to be.
"These poems can confront quotidian life in plainspoken language because, like an extraordinary pencil drawing, there is so much subtle cross-hatching and shading. Cookshaw observes her mother's death, for example, both directly and aslant, half turning away, as if unsure which is the more truthful. Mowing requires that you sit and visit for a good long while." --Ross Leckie
Marlene Cookshaw was born and raised in southern Alberta and now lives on Pender Island, BC. She edits The Malahat Review, and teaches at the Victoria School of Writing. She has served on juries for various writing awards, among them the BC Book Prize for Poetry and the Prince Edward Island Literary Competition. Marlene is the author of three earlier books of poetry, two of which, The Whole Elephant (1989) and Double Somersaults (1999), were published by Brick Books.
The days are handed off like bright batons.
A runner stutters into dark, the night
ahead. Ahead, dawn tucked beneath her arm,
someone else begins to hammer
the pulsing slope of mount grief,
while, in her wake, another navigates
the barberry thicket of what might
have been achieved. Who she was or will be
keeps her company the far side of the track,
winded, lurching forward, looking back.