Winner of the 2017 Pat Lowther Memorial Award
Lyric poems built with consummate skill by a poet at the peak of her powers
Heaven’s Thieves is a collection engaged with the big questions—What are bodies for? What does it mean to be alive? What is beauty and why does it have such power over us? What is the point of art?—and the urgent ones—how to live in a shattered ecology, what to do about grief, illness, betrayal. Sinclair turns her attention to these questions with fearless curiosity, economy, and an originality born of her willingness to pursue her own line of inquiry to its limit. These poems get close and cut deep, mixing subject and object, surface and soul: “Red mud glistens / like cut fruit—or like the knife / that did the cutting, laid down.”
In this, her fifth collection, Sinclair knows that nature is both “done to death” and “inexhaustible”; that art is an elegy for experience, but even so,
is not to wash through the body of a deer like a ghost;
it isn’t to skulk under a living skin.
It’s a change in the value of things.
(from “The Dead”)
Experience and its value are changed in these poems. They are as wise as they are disruptive, and they change us as surely as they remake the world.
Praise for Sue Sinclair:
“In Heaven’s Thieves, Sue Sinclair offers us a gorgeous, authoritative, boundary-leaping meditation on beauty and incarnation. Sure-handed of music and chiselled of mind, realm-crossing and fearless, Sinclair’s poems live, think, and feel, by and in matter, about things that matter. Sinclair’s book, that is, informs, in the fullest sense. And equally, dazzles.” —Jane Hirshfield
“…a poet who looks long and hard at the world to draw existential meaning. Her studious gaze is insightful, even – dare I say it in this secular age – soulful.” —Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star
“…vivid, lively, crisp, and packed with delicious surprise metaphors.” —Anita Lahey, Arc Magazine
- From Nowhere and Everywhere
Andrea MacPherson, Canadian Literature, March 29, 2017. Web.
- Jurors’ comments on Heaven’s Thieves by Sue Sinclair – winner of the 2017 Pat Lowther Memorial Award
Beatriz Hausner, A.F. Moritz, Mary Ellen Csamer, League of Canadian Poets
- Poetry Snapshots – Heaven’s Thieves by Sue Sinclair
Mariianne Mays, Herizons, spring 2017, Vol. 30, No. 4
- Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2016 Poetry Preview
Kerry Clare, The 49th Shelf, February 1, 2016
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About the Author
Sue Sinclair is the author of four previous collections, all of them nominated for regional and/or national awards. She also recently completed a PhD in philosophy at the University of Toronto on the subject of beauty and ethics. In 2012 she was Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick, and in 2013 she served as…