Poems that stride bravely into the day-to-day, recovering the misdirected intensity at its core.
Brenda Leifso's Wild Madder is about way-finding--through those moments in which you no longer recognize where you are. It's about not knowing--who you are anymore, how to be in the world, how to love. It's about what's unspoken and about what speaks--conversation with the wild and animate world. It's about marriage, family, motherhood--the drudgery in them and the quiet beauty.
This is lyric poetry wracked with pain, rage, and longing. In the beginning, the collection may read as though it's been steeped in bitterness. Family can ask everything of a partner and parent and then turn around and take even more; Wild Madder feels like a note in a bottle washed up on the shores of a rough sea. But Leifso is not one to stand still or cling to darkness; in fact, we end up so far into the darkness that when she breaks through into light, it's a conflagration of all the things that make us human.
These frank, bracingly recognizable poems will be irresistible--and cathartic--for anyone who has ever felt their life chewing them into little pieces.
"Brenda Leifso writes fearless poetry. Wild Madder turns the domestic inside out, revealing the 'promise of thunder' in the familiar. Hers is a generous voice, yet at the same time it is a charged one, calling us into the 'long-toothed sun'. This is a book of fierce delights." --Anne Simpson
Wild Madder is Brenda Leifso’s third book of poetry, following Barren the Fury (Pedlar Press, 2015) and Daughters of Men (Brick Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for an Ottawa Book Award. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies across Canada, has won the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, and has been short- and long-listed for the CBC Literary prize. She is a freelance editor and occasional academic instructor, and also runs her own yoga business. She lives, gratefully, near the shores of Lake Ontario in Kingston, Ontario.
3 O'clock, October
Half an hour until the school bus brings the children home.
Water boils in the kettle
and the dog ticketyticks into the kitchen. My heart is busy
sawing a butterknife across my ribcage
in its low-paying afternoon shiftwork of despair
while the chickadees gossip in the yard. They pause
once in a while to assess
and argue the flight risk to the feeder until fuck it
one of them can't help but dive--all the world fluting through her feathers--
for the promise of beak vs. shell,
the satisfying, determinate crack
of splitting open.