By (author): Mark Truscott

Winner of the 2020 Nelson Ball Prize

Careful attention reveals that, even in moments that seem insignificant, our minds are constantly navigating disjunctions among registers of experience. Our intellect silently reminds our eyes that the car that appears to be moving between leaves is actually behind them and much larger. The sound of the vacuum cleaner in the next room is noise to be ignored. The phrase that arises in mind belongs to a conversation earlier in the day. Clear thinking demands that these navigations remain unconscious. But what if they’re meaningful, or productive, in themselves? What if they’re necessary to help us find a more meaningful place in the world? Branches explores these questions.


Mark Truscott

MARK TRUSCOTT is the author of two previous books of poetry: Said Like Reeds or Things (2004) and Nature (2010), which was shortlisted for the ReLit Award for Poetry. Poems from Branches have appeared in Event, The Walrus and on the Cultural Society website ( Truscott was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and grew up in Burlington, ON. He lives in Toronto.


“The opening lines of Branches—one line per page—are about a line (or is it a branch?). We inch along, searching for definition in the oscillating throw of metaphor: “a branch like a line like a branch”. The desire to know, that exilic quality of the mind, is an old drama, and in Branches, Truscott enacts the wanderings of the mind with a single intent, and finds in the poetic line a direction home, a way of going further in the direction of what is to be thought, the direction that goes in both directions simultaneously. This book gives moving testimony of the need for poetry. For this reason, and so many others that you must discover by reading the book, we have chosen Branches by Mark Truscott as the winner of the Nelson Ball Prize for this inaugural year.” —Nelson Ball Jury Prize Citation

“These minimalist yet deeply meditative poems focus on the commonplace: how bare branches frame the sky, the movement of clouds, how light reflects off wood. They amount to an interrogation of perception itself, and in particular, the connection between thinking and seeing.” —Toronto Star


  • Nelson Ball Prize for Observational Poetry 2020, Winner
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    72 Pages
    8.00in * 5.25in * .15in


    September 21, 2018


    Book*hug Press



    Book Subjects:

    POETRY / Canadian

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