A long poem memorializing the art and lives of sculptors Frances Loring and Florence Wyle.
Arleen Paré, in her first book-length poem after her Governor General Literary Award-winning Lake of Two Mountains, turns her cool, benevolent eye to the shared lives of Florence Wyle and Frances Loring, two of Canada's greatest artists, whose sculptures she comes face to face with at the National Gallery of Canada. In the guise of a curator, Paré takes us on a moving, carefully structured tour through the rooms where their work is displayed, the Gallery's walls falling away to travel in time to Chicago (where they met at art school and fell in love in the 1910s), New York, and Toronto (where they lived and worked for the next six decades). Along the way, Paré looks at fashions in art, the politics of gender, and the love that longtime proximity calls forth in us. The Girls with Stone Faces is one of the finest collections of poetry about the lives of artists--and most importantly their work--to appear in Canada in many years.
Although Wyle and Loring were well known during their lifetimes, they have dropped out of common memory. Paré's collection is art loving art, women loving women, words loving shape, poetry loving stone, the curve of jaw, the trajectory of days.
". .. Like the sculpted female figures she describes as 'tacking their bodies against the history of storm,' Paré has positioned her own graceful, finely chiselled lines to recast the history of women in art, in society, in love. " --Anita Lahey
". .. A distinctive and memorable book, sympathetic and gloriously questioning. " --Stephanie Bolster
Arleen Paré's first book, Paper Trail, was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Award for Poetry and won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2008. Leaving Now, a mixed-genre novel released in 2012, was highlighted on All Lit Up. Lake of Two Mountains, her third book, won the 2014 Governor General's Award for Poetry, was nominated for the Butler Book Prize and won the CBC Bookie Award. Paré's poetry collection, He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car, was a 2015 Victoria Butler Book Prize finalist. The Girls with Stone Faces, her fifth book, won the American Golden Crown Award for poetry in 2018. Her sixth book, Earle Street, was released in Spring, 2020. She lives in Victoria with her partner of forty years.