Poems that journey through a tapestry of myths, archetypes and fables; of histories invented and revisited.
Kate Cayley's is a mind both studious and curious, deeply attuned to the question "what if?" What if Nick Drake and Emily Dickinson met in the afterlife? What if a respected physician suddenly shrank to the size of a pea? What if the blind twins in a Victorian photograph could speak to us? What if we found another Earth orbiting another sun?
Cayley draws on her experience as a playwright to create vividly engaging voices and characters ranging from the famous to the infamous to the all-but-anonymous. With exquisite pacing and striking imagery she draws us into the gaps in history, invites us to survey its wonders, both real and imaginary.Ê
Be the horse. Be patient and simple, blind
to anything beyond this moment, step out
on trembling legs toward the lake, knowing that
there is something behind this, something
that sustains, propels, repeats.
(from "The White Horse Divers, Lake Ontario, 1908")
Kate Cayley's poetry and short stories have appeared in literary magazines across the country. Her play, After Akhmatova, was produced by Tarragon Theatre, where she is a playwright-in-residence, and a young adult novel, The Hangman in the Mirror, was published by Annick Press in 2011. Last year Brick Books published her first poetry collection, When This World Comes to an End. How You Were Born is Cayley's first collection of short fiction.
"Kate Cayley's warm and inquisitive debut is full of ... irresistible thought experiments" -- Jared Bland, The Globe and Mail
"A Toronto theatre artistic director, Cayley follows the example of British writers W.H. Auden and Angela Carter in updating historical speakers to give them a jarring, new context and diction." -- George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
"Cayley's gift for narrative is brilliant at its best, the kind of writing that delivers dazzling wonder and piercing knowledge at once, like an annunciation." -- Marianne Mays, Herizons
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