Home of Sudden Service

By (author): Elizabeth Bachinsky



Elizabeth Bachinsky

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of four collections of poetry: CURIO, Home of Sudden Service, God of Missed Connections, and The Hottest Summer in Recorded History (forthcoming, 2013). Her work has been nominated for awards including the Pat Lowther Award and the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, She lives in Vancouver where she is an instructor of creative writing and the Editor of EVENT magazine.


Imagining T.S. Eliot returned, in a Canadian woman’s body, as a punk rocker, takes you only partway to grasping Bachinsky… Her project, in Home of Sudden Service, is to explore the voices of the disenfranchased… Elizabeth Bachinsky is one of those rare poets capable of negotiating poetic forms with rigour and testing their limits, while never losing sight of the strange, dark music of what it means to be human. We should expect great things from her.–Jeanette Lynes, The Globe and Mail
It’s rare to encounter a book of poetry that so nimbly balances accessibility and craft as this second collection by Elizabeth Bachinsky. Drawing on apparently vast reserves of hipster angst, Bachinsky portrays the struggles of the young with a skillful mix of ironic detachment and saucer-eyed immediacy… Two villanelles, a glosa using P.K. Page, several handfuls of punchy free-verse narratives and a single prose piece round out the collection, evincing a young poet concerned with tradition, but possessing an experimental impulse that gives her work a countercultural thrust… [Bachinsky is] a writer worth not only watching, but reading.–Stewart Cole, Quill and Quire
The up-and-comer on this year’s [Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry] list is Elizabeth Bachinsky… Home of Sudden Service is just her second collection… She gives the grungy, trailer-park feel of this material an intriguing tilt by setting it within the strictness of traditional forms like the sonnet… the GG nod ensures that her book will get some deserved attention.–Barbara Carey, CBC.ca Arts
Don’t let Elizabeth Bachinsky’s smart-ass hipster lyrics and tough-girl sentiments distract you from her technical prowess. She knows not only how to hot-wire and fine-tune a poem, but also how to provide just the right blend of sound, image, and torque to make it move.–Gary Geddes
You will recognize much about the young lives in Home of Sudden Service, but you won’t find the usual gloss. Here is a poet who knows how to shake things up. Meter! Grit! These are urgent poems, inscribed in skin. You will hear them long after you have put this book down, but you will feel them even longer.–Sina Queyras, editor of Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets
…the poems in Home of Sudden Service give voice and breath to growing up in the wilds that exist from the suburbs to almost rural, in small town writing of teenage hijinks, failures, successes and those furtive dreams of eternal escape. In poems that exist between childhood and adulthood, between dream and goal, Bachinsky writes of the delinquent teens who will one day become respectable old men, working the same job their whole lives, but still living in that place where everything is still potential, and nothing is actual; each poem existing in that underlying bubbling of sensuality and sexuality, bursting to get through.–rob mclennan
In Home of Sudden Service, Elizabeth Bachinsky salutes poetic forebears by name and, more deeply, by singing the strict forms forward. I love this book for the music in its voices and also for its tough and tender normalization of misfit lives. Misfit? Who among us survives the so-called formative years bearing no mark of the outcast? Anybody interesting? So I found myself wondering as I read and re-read this gorgeous, affecting book. Delighted and appalled, I see myself in it.–Stan Dragland
Her acute attention to place asks us to look again at the suburbia so easily dismissed… to desire the places where we grew up, places we both yearn for and long to forget.–Jacqueline Turner, The Georgia Straight
Bachinsky’s poems have energy, with lines jumping out and forcing you to listen to whatever she wants to say. Most of the work is short and immediate, the effect being like a juicy piece of gossip. What is so intriguing about her poems is that they are written about everyday events in a straightforward narrative voice. As a result, she presents a collection that feels truthful, real and spontaneous. Home of Sudden Service is a book of poems that will make you smile and critically think about life in suburbia, a place where many of us live out everyday life as well.–Taryn Hubbard, JIVE Magazine
The same thing strikes me in all of [Bachinsky’s] poetry: the strong, deliberate voice, the attention to detail, the tone – by turns poignant, funny, or fierce. Her combination of a fearless approach to taboo subjects and a strong, narrative voice, drew me instantly to her work.–Amy Borkwood, The New Quarterly
[Home of Sudden Service] packs a wallop of teenage angst, boredom and risky sexiness… an unusual and highly accomplished use of form by a young poet on the subject of loose girls and the freeway culture of malls, necking, cruelty and tragedy. Elizabeth Bachinsky demonstrates more skill in a couple of sonnets and villanelles than poets twice her age do in a couple of books… Most striking in this explicit collection is the contrast between the accomplished technique and the harsh realities of life voiced in colloquial language.–Hannah Main-Van der Kamp, BC Bookworld
…aims to incorporate the whole field of modern female adolescence. While a slim volume of lyric poems is obviously unable to capture every aspect of that giggly yet terrifying phenomenon, it might still draw in and illustrate more of it than any televised video countdown… The high points here are poetically impressive, and Elizabeth Bachinsky has written an exciting book. You can tell this talent will encompass more of poetry’s great themes before long…–Lyle Neff, Books In Canada
Elizabeth Bachinsky’s touching poem, “Sometimes Boys Go Missing,” is a fictional piece inspired by a real life disappearance. The words resonate like the harsh echoes of stale newscasts; rumors abound and the small, angry voice of the missing boy’s girlfriend almost disappears in the perfectly captured no-nonsense comments of local residents, for whom this is nothing more than an alternative to talking about the weather. Their musings are pure speculation-fragmented statements that may or may not have any foundation in reality. In the end, however, what emerges is plain, solid, heartbreaking, and true: a boy is missing, and life will never be the same.–Andrée Lachapelle, Broken Pencil
[Bachinsky’s poems have] a Gothic sensibility yet they are rooted in the everyday of cooking and relationships. The sexual and physical quality of these poems gives them an authenticity and an honesty that most poems never come near.–C. Jason Lee
Like a short story writer, [Bachinsky] excels at inhabiting the minds of fictionalized characters.–Maurice Mierau, Prairie Fire Review of Books
– Prairie Fire

This is Bachinsky’s second collection and it demonstrates an impressive technical ease in a wide range of forms. Bachinsky’s language is most often the everyday speech of small-town (northern BC) and urban (Vancouver) adolescents and young adults; her subjects, the pleasures, boredoms, and dangers experienced by such people in such places – the sexual explorations and experiments, the traps of early marriage and bad jobs, the unexplained disappearances, the complex negotiations for sexual and economic power. Bachinsky makes the combination of ‘low’ style or material with ‘high’ forms seem not just easy and natural but aesthetically and poetically meaningful.–Malcolm Woodland, University of Toronto Quarterly
Unlike most traditional “erotic literature,” which draws the basis for its eroticism from a core of sexual content treated as though it precedes the text, the anagrammed text starts with nothing but letters, which in themselves are about as sexy as a tax report, and finds in them a latent Metamorphoses of chimeric couplings and bawdy mis-joinings (e.g., “Brilliant duel them corset her penis”). The entire field of signification becomes, if you will, a perpetually excited surface of semiotic erectile tissue, productive of pornographic delirium.–K. Silem Mohammad, Lemon Hound
Bachinsky writes about misfits and outcasts – teen moms, punk rock boys, high school dykes and trailer park delinquents – coming-of-age in small towns. Her tender words hold the sting of truth. Highly recommended [for] Grade 10 and up.–Lindy Reads and Reviews: teen novels, comics, children’s books, adult fiction, non-fiction… you name it!
In Bachinsky’s Home of Sudden Service, nostalgia cloaks itself in the muddied guise of meter and old-school poetic form. … Through loss (“Sometimes Boys Go Missing”), intoxication (“Of a Place”), and delinquency (“B&E”), Home of Sudden Service gets to the heart of growing up stuck: “Like wild grass/ from under the hoof of a pastured animal, we spring up.”
–Erin Gray, Broken Pencil
“This restless, elegant book suggests further accomplishment to come.”
–Jane Henderson, The Dominion
After reading this collection, which handles teenage angst and misspent youth so well, I wished that high school students could be exposed to young poets like Bachinsky. This is exciting and challenging work, and while it would never find its way into the high school English curriculum without a revolution in education, I know it would appeal to young people. … Bachinsky’s work is original and exciting enough to get you to imagine the impossible.
–Hannah Colville, InfoMonkey.net (Halifax)
Home of Sudden Service has a lot to recommend it … As somebody who grew up in a small town, I recognize and respond to the portraits of small-town life that Bachinsky paints with an expert hand.–Johnathan Ball dot com


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Excerpts & Samples ×
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2006 GOVERNOR GENERAL’S AWARD”Elizabeth Bachinsky is one of those rare poets capable of negotiating poetic forms with rigour and testing their limits, while never losing sight of the strange, dark music of what it means to be human. We should expect great things from her.” –The Globe and MailHome of Sudden Service is a sad and scary book of punk rock villanelles and sonnets about delinquency.Set in Anyvalley, North America, Home of Sudden Service centres around the experiences of young people growing up in the suburbs. The contrast of elegant poetic forms with the colloquial, often harsh language of suburban teens makes for a compelling and engaging achievement.Bachinsky creates a gothic landscape that will be familiar to anyone who’s visited the suburbs. Here, young Brownies dance, learn to sew and get badges in a series of eerie rituals, and smalltown girls settle down early. Murder, lust, teen pregnancy and a young man’s disappearance are all discussed with a matter-of-fact, dispassionate voice.But this world is not without humour and hope. Home of Sudden Service concludes with “Drive,” a series of fifteen sonnets about the poet’s trip across Canada with her sister — and out of the setting of their youth.

Reader Reviews



78 Pages
7.5in * 5.25in * 0.25in


March 15, 2006


Nightwood Editions



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

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