Urgent and precarious, the poems in The Rapids, Susan Gillis’ third collection, take us to places lost and reclaimed: a balcony high over the St. Lawrence River in downtown Montreal, upstream to the Lachine Rapids, and beyond, to landscapes as far apart as Greece and the B.C. coast.
In the same way that Hokusai depicted the sacred Mount Fuji from different vantages at different times of year and day, Gillis depicts the St. Lawrence and the Lachine Canal in spring, summer, winter, and fall, from dawn to dusk, as a background to ordinary and sometimes extraordinary experiences.
The presiding spirit of the book is force: wind, water, and time at work on the body and on the body of the world. Like the river that is its measure, The Rapids is full of sudden shifts — a polyphony of surges and eddies and remarkable leaps.
Praise for The Rapids:
“The Rapids, Susan Gillis’s ravishing new collection, gives us the strange loops of ordinary moments: a farewell at a train station, an empty room, the first bloodroot in spring. Her poems—airy, shimmering—reveal a slippage in time and space. We are not where we thought we were—not at all.” — Anne Simpson
“At the heart of The Rapids is a lucidly articulate intelligence continuously on the move, taking unexpected turns, opening up multiple new perspectives on every phenomenon—architecture, romance, the Russian novel, St. Jerome, the rapids themselves—ultimately overturning all assumptions and conclusions. Yet what remains after riding these rapids into the clear is a bell-like, haunting calm.” — Roo Borson
The Rapids — The Goose