Winner of the 2022 ReLit Award for Poetry
Why I Was Late fuses text with performance, bringing a transmasculine wisdom, humour, and experience to bear upon tailgates, spaceships, and wrestling rings. Fierce, tender, convention re-inventing — Petch works hard. And whether it’s as a film union lighting technician, a hospital bed allocator, a Toronto hot dog vendor, or a performer/player of the musical saw, the work is survival. Heroes are found in unexpected places, elevated by both large and small gestures of kindness, accountability and acceptance. No subject — grief, disability, kink, sexuality, gender politics, violence — is off limits.
A poet so good at drag they had everyone convinced that they were a woman for the first forty years of their life, Petch has somehow brought the stage and its attendant thrills into the book. Better late than. And better.
Many of the poems in Louise Halfe’s Burning in This Midnight Dream were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded. In heart-wrenching detail, Halfe recalls the damage done to her parents, her family, herself. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures.
Halfe’s poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.
Winner 1999 Governor General’s Award for Poetry
Songs for Relinquishing the Earth contains many poems of praise and grief for the imperilled earth drawing frequently on Jan Zwicky’s experience as a musician and philosopher and on the landscapes of the prairies and rural Ontario.