Mortal Arguments

by Sue Sinclair


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Shortlisted for the 2005 Atlantic Poetry Prize and a Globe 100 title for 2004

Mortal Arguments is Sue Sinclair’s second poetry collection. In it, she continues her extraordinary phenomenological investigation of lived experience, addressing with increasing urgency issues of profound philosophical and political importance such as consumerism, privilege, and our ability to respond to the suffering of others. Her voice combines great metaphorical brilliance with the depth one expects of a much older writer. Her poems will remind readers by turns of Rilke and Heine: urgent, sorrowing, ecstatic. This is an important book by one of Canada’s finest young poets.


Not because it is sufficient, but because
we subsist on light, and what doesn’t
cry out to be noticed? There’s something here
you might recognize, but you’re not sure; still, you’re willing
to risk it: the loss of everything, seen and unseen,
the before and the after. It doesn’t depend on you
but you move toward it. Because as long as there’s a moment
here or there, why not arrange a few roses
in a jar, give thought to their listlessness, how they gather
the room about them yet think nothing of it, how each
thorn persists, how they have made a purpose
of holding still? Then you remember
the necessary and sufficient. This isn’t it,
but you don’t know where else to begin.

Second printing


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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…

More about Sue Sinclair

Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1894078292
  • ISBN-13: 9781894078290
  • Pages: 96
  • Year: 2003
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.75 x 0.31 in
  • Category:
  • Cover Art:

    Nature morte (detail) by Sophie Theriault, 2003

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