by Charmaine Cadeau


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Disintegration, gaps in the historical record, and unaccounted-for absences hold these magically makeshift lyric poems together.

Provisional, roaming, obsessed with remnants and deferrals, the poems in Charmaine Cadeau’s second collection navigate flexible and shifting terrains where the speaker’s emotional directness tethers us as we dare to read on. Though Cadeau is capable of some stunning acrobatics—somersaulting mid-line, the imagery defying gravity, the language a series of wows—she isn’t in the business of showing off; instead, she goes subtly beyond the quotidian in search of that which saves the day or ruins the soufflé or makes us all squirm in self-recognition. She dares the extraordinary to become a part of everyday. To read Placeholder is to enter a mesmerizing stream of consciousness response to a world that is rarely in the same spot in the morning as we left it the night before.

…As if anything could be safely
sealed away…

As if everything helps itself,
helplessly. Guided by breadcrumbs, the
flannel of porch light.

—from “Side Effects”

“The poetry in Placeholder is intriguing in the materiality and intensity of its language. But one wants a slow read to relish the lush assemblage and careful juxtapositions … These poems/placeholders invite us to dawdle the ‘whole while’ and ponder the ordered melange of this poetic curiosity shop.”  —Fred Wah, Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate

“I praise these poems for their assured & complex music, but also for offering a rich logopoeïa, combining into a dance of thought, a meditative passacaglia joyfully crossing the street in a mirror dance of comparisons where the seams/seems of the poem’s ‘as if’ redouble in another ‘as if’ revealing the real behind the mirror.”  —Pierre Joris, poet and winner of the 2005 PEN Poetry Translation Award


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About the Author

Charmaine Cadeau was born in Toronto. Her first collection of poetry, What You Used to Wear, was published with Goose Lane in 2004. She is currently Assistant Professor at High Point University in North Carolina.

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Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1-926829-81-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-926829-81-4
  • Pages: 96
  • Year: 2013
  • Dimensions 6 x 8.75 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art:

    Design by Cheryl Dipede.

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