Yellow Crane, Susan Gillis’s fourth collection of poetry, is a book of many views, many voices. A long look at the changing landscape of a Montreal neighbourhood becomes at once a lament and a love poem. A sequence of poems inspired by Japanese tanka take on the cultural weather, core-drilling into the contradictions and uncertainties of the everyday. Writers, artists, thinkers, cooks, and others congregate in a hammock on the edge of a hayfield to compare notes on what we value. A bear turns up on a path near a quarry.
The poems of Yellow Crane study, with a lover’s tender yet critical eye, the world we occupy and the way we occupy it: art, industry, environments both built and natural; the simultaneous flux and agelessness of our daily habits; the long human story of appropriation of wilderness; the fragility, resilience, and questionable worth of what we make, especially under political, economic, and social pressures; concern about our changing times; grief over what we leave behind.
This is a book that argues with itself, then rests. At once precise and loose, wise and nimble, it will make you both feel and think — and care about the world along with it.
Yellow Crane by Susan Gillis — Prairie Fire
Poetry Review by Laura Ritland — Malahat Review