seven poems

by Carolyn Smart


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Longlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award

An elegant and sinister collection of dramatic monologues.

Hooked is a stunning new collection of seven poems about seven famous or infamous women: Myra Hindley, Unity Mitford, Zelda Fitzgerald, Dora Carrington, Carson McCullers, Jane Bowles, and Elizabeth Smart. Each of these women was hooked on, and her life contorted by, an addiction or obsession. Here we have seven variations on the insoluble conundrum of sexuality – each in a remarkably distinct, authentic voice.


I am conversant with my position:
middle-aged, untrained, the graduate
of half a dozen homes for the insane
I walk correctly through a world I do not understand

where has my life gone to
beside the smell of paints and
the texture of the canvas in my rough and awkward hands?
a show of paper dolls and stories starring anguish
that’s my artistic life

from “Rickety Rackety”

(Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald: July 24, 1900-March 10, 1948)

Carolyn Smart brilliantly recreates seven lives of great colour. These women, all born before the end of World War II, struggle to find – or escape – their roles in a society hostile to female intelligence and ambition. Here are the agonies of the half-lived life; talents and voices that are lost or go astray in seven different ways, at a time before the greater freedoms that Feminism brought to the Western World. Whether these women have artistic success or not they are, in these astonishing poems, devastatingly articulate about their difficult lives.

“…Hooked expresses the heart of darkness with an astonishing concision and acuity… [Smart] understands loneliness in all its forms, and writes with a clarity and compassion that is powerfully affecting. In [her], these women have found a deeply feeling and deeply attentive witness.” – Anne Michaels

Third printing


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About the Author

Carolyn Smart has written six previous collections of poetry, including The Way to Come Home (Brick Books, 1993), and Hooked: Seven Poems (Brick Books, 2009). Her memoir At the End of the Day (Penumbra Press, 2001) won first prize in the 1993 CBC Literary Contest. Smart is the founder of the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for…

More about Carolyn Smart

Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1894078691
  • ISBN-13: 9781894078696
  • Pages: 120
  • Year: 2009
  • Dimensions 6 x 8.75 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art:

    A detail from Interior/Exterior Zanzibar Tea Gardens, 1986 by Sarindar Dhaliwal

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