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Poetry Canadian

A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth

by (author) Stephanie Bolster

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2011
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
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Shortlisted for the 2012 Pat Lowther Memorial Award

An ambivalent zoo-tour, an open-eyed meander through a landscape of made and contained things.

A Page from The Wonders of Life on Earth is a book with a coherent vision of nature -- constructed or framed, both in the present and in the recent past -- through zoos, aviaries, formal gardens, menageries, and books like the Time-Life one named in the title. Informed by the author’s grand tour of these zoos and gardens, these poems provide a strong lens for considering the many paradoxes of inter-species relations; they open up the possibility of honest, unsentimental elegy. The book is also a model of what might be called investigative poetry, taking the poet’s combination of perceptual acuity, craft, music and sensibility into these richly troubled places (prisons of, monuments to, museums for the lost natural world) where "arcades sell postcards of old photographs of the arcades," and where questions of what it means to be human, to be animal, to be other and to be art are tangibly in the air. This is Bolster's best work.

About the author

Stephanie Bolster’s first book, White Stone: The Alice Poems (Signal/Véhicule), won the Governor General`s Award and the Gerald Lampert Award in 1998 and will appear in French with Les Éditions du Noroît in autumn 2007, translated by Daniel Canty. She has also published Two Bowls of Milk (McClelland & Stewart), which won the Archibald Lampman Award and was shortlisted for the Trillium Award, and Pavilion (McClelland & Stewart). Her work has appeared in literary journals internationally and has also garnered her the Bronwen Wallace Award, the Norma Epstein Award, and The Malahat Review`s Long Poem Prize. Her several chapbooks include, most recently, Biodôme (above/ground) and Past the Roman Arena and the Cedar of Lebanon (Delirium). She is the editor of The Ishtar Gate: Last and Selected Poems (McGill-Queen’s) by the late Ottawa poet Diana Brebner and is currently editing an anthology of poetry and prose excerpts pertaining to zoos. Raised in Burnaby, B.C., she now lives in Montréal, where she teaches in the creative writing programme at Concordia University.

Stephanie Bolster's profile page

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