What Fills Your House Like Smoke

In these poems, E. McGregor combines the lore of family history with personal memory, vividly parsing patterns of inheritance, particularly through the maternal line.

What Fills Your House Like Smoke begins and ends at the deathbed of the writer’s Metis grandmother. In between, McGregor composes an incomplete and wildly imaginative biography of the grandmother, interrogated by family photographs, stories, and the scant paper trail she left behind.

McGregor sifts through the complexities of motherhood, daughterhood, anxiety, intimate relationships and addiction, weaving family history with memory to make sense of what is carried on. Especially affecting are poems about childhood, and the people who disappear from a child’s life, and the struggle to live as a societal outsider, finding strength in self-definition and the power of narrative.

As these poems unfold, they move us toward an understanding of maternal inheritance, shifting identities, forgiveness, and finally love.


“There is a rawness and tender vulnerability in the re-membering of a mother’s mother’s life in the thematic dotted lines, hardlines and blurred lines of McGregor’s poetry. For bodies under duress, survival is instinctive and passed on, and a breakthrough from the trauma endured is made possible in an honest remembering to liberate oneself.” — Rita Bouvier, author of a beautiful rebellion.
What Fills Your House Like Smoke is a staggering collection . . . technically agile and thematically nuanced. McGregor’s poems have the effect of flame, sucking the air out of the room; of a soothing hand on your chest, reminding you to breathe. An indelible debut.” — Hollay Ghadery, author of Rebellion Box.


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90 Pages
8.00in * 6.00in *


April 09, 2024


Thistledown Press



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Family



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