Museum of Kindness, Montreal poet Susan Elmslie’s searching second collection of poetry, is a book that bravely examines “genres” familiar and hard to fathom: the school shooting, PTSD, raising a child who has a disability. In poems grounded in the domestic and in workaday life, poems burnished by silence and the weight of the unspoken, poems by turns ironic and sincere, Elmslie asks “What, exactly, is / unthinkable?”
Candid, urgent, celebratory, and wise, this is a book for all of us; in it, we encounter a sober and unflinching gaze that meets us where we really live and does not look away.
Praise for Museum of Kindness:
“… These poems are so acute, so clear-eyed in their brutal wisdom, that I had to put the book down to rest between poems, like a woman in labor, entirely wrung out…. a masterpiece of loss transformed by love into some of the most greathearted, lyrically daring poems I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. ” — Rachel Rose
“Susan Elmslie has written a remarkable collection. Many of these poems deal with some of the more demanding elements in the lives of women, of mothers. These are poems that will speak to many people with power and dignity and a healing touch.” — Marge Piercy, author of Woman on the Edge of Time
“In Museum of Kindness, Susan Elmslie’s insightful, painful personal reflection on two difficult situations—a school shooting and raising a special needs child is therapeutic and, sadly, timely.” — Jury comments 2018 Pat Lowther Memorial Award
Poetry Museums — Canadian Literature
Lashing and Balm — Montreal Review of Books