Swoon

By Elana Wolff

Swoon
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Winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry

The poems in Swoon speak to the steady wending of a life's thematic drama: the falling / rising permutations across biographical phases. Indications are filtered through relationship, encounter, art, the natural world, and ... Read more


Overview

Winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry

The poems in Swoon speak to the steady wending of a life's thematic drama: the falling / rising permutations across biographical phases. Indications are filtered through relationship, encounter, art, the natural world, and dream. Associations coalesce in a rhythmic clocking of feeling / thought. Randomness and accident may have a part to play, destiny and mystery, too; suggestion of a plot. There's storyline unfolding that resists a denouement.

Elana Wolff

Elana Wolff has published six solo collections of poetry with Guernica Editions, including You Speak to Me in Trees, awarded the F.G. Bressani Prize for Poetry, and, most recently, Swoon, winner of the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry. She is also the author of Implicate Me, a collection of essays on contemporary poems; co-author with the late Malca Litovitz of Slow Dancing: Creativity and Illness (Duologue and Rengas); co-editor with Julie Roorda of Poet to Poet: Poems written to poets and the stories that inspired them; and co-translator with Menachem Wolff of Poems and Songs of Love by Georg by Mordechai Langer (from Hebrew), half of the joint volume, A Hunger Artist and Other Stories, by Franz Kafka, translated by Thor Polson (from German). A bilingual edition of Elana’s selected poems, Helleborus & Alchémille (Éditions du Noroît) was awarded the 2014 John Glassco Prize for Translation (translator: Stéphanie Roesler). Elana has taught English for Academic Purposes at York University in Toronto and at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She currently divides her professional time between writing poetry and creative nonfiction, literary editing, and designing and facilitating social art courses.

Reviews

These poems are definitely feminine and feminist: “Call it sense for survival, if you like, / I call it cunning: I like the femininity of that word, / its verbal noun-ness. ” Another point of generosity comes from Wolff sharing with the reader aspects of her poetics: “Is it / the verb that does the big work? as some poets hold…” The reader also gets a sense of the poet's use of ellipses, caesura, and metrical feet.

Building on her compulsion of perception in her fifth collection, Everything Reminds You of Something Else, and its spare, introspective, elliptical, and heart-probing lyrics, Swoon puts the reader “at the crux of wonderment/& tech sophistication,” with poems that are stunningly meditative, ekphrastic, and intense while being musical even in their intrinsic tensions.

FreeFall Magazine

Attentive to the mysteries of their worlds, the speakers in Elana Wolff’s sixth poetry collection, Swoon, incarnate the same sensual curiosity that characterized the author’s previous collection, Everything Reminds You of Something Else (Guernica, 2017). While that title announced Wolff’s penchant for allusive expression, Swoon suggests the affective experience centred in her searching, spiritual lyrics.

A seamless and multi-layered poetic journey through art, travel, great writers’ words, bird sightings, strange images, memories, found meaning—often the infusing of the sacred with the mundane—where poet/narrator emerges as witness in wonder, present in each moment.

Reader Reviews

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