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Lake of Two Mountains

by Arleen Paré

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Winner of the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Poetry

A hymn to a beloved lake, a praise poem in forty-five parts,
a contemplation of
landscape and memory

Lake of Two Mountains, Arleen Paré’s second poetry collection, is a portrait of a lake, of a relationship to a lake, of a network of relationships around a lake. It maps, probes and applauds the riparian region of central Canadian geography that lies between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence Rivers. The poems portray this territory, its contested human presences and natural history: the 1990 Oka Crisis, Pleistocene shifts and dislocations, the feather-shaped Ile Cadieux, a Trappist monastery on the lake’s northern shore. As we are drawn into experience of the lake and its environs, we also enter an intricate interleaving of landscape and memory, a reflection on how a place comes to inhabit us even as we inhabit it.

flint-dark far-off
sky on the move across the lake
slant sheets closing in
sky collapsing from its bowl
shoreline waiting taut
stones dark as plums
~from “Distance Closing In”

Praise for Lake of Two Mountains:

“When has a body of water said so much, been looked at so many ways, spoken in so many voices? Arleen Paré’s “lake” is an astonishing creation, alive and changeable, as multifaceted as light on water. “Lake of Two Mountains” is a literal place, yes, but it is also a place with spiritual, personal, religious and political dimensions. A kind of all-seeing deity, it observes human life and measures the passing of time. I am in awe of this lake, its reach and complexities rooted in the specifics of flora and fauna. I am also in awe of Paré’s marvelous and deeply authentic poems.
—Patricia Young

“Arleen Paré’s poems are monastic prayers of forgiveness, intense simplicities that praise all we have lost, all we have left. She is a gift the world has given us. Read her and then in deep quiet read her again.”
—Patrick Lane


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About the Author

Arleen Paré is a poet and novelist, author of two previous books.  Originally from Montreal, she lived for many years in Vancouver, where she worked as a social worker and administrator to provide community housing for people with mental illnesses. She now lives in Victoria with her partner, Chris Fox.  Lake of Two Mountains is…

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Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1-926829-87-5
  • ISBN-13: 9781926829876
  • Pages: 83
  • Year: 2014
  • Dimensions 6 x 8.75 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art: Cover image by Cheryl Dipede
  • Printing: Fourth Printing

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