These poems travel along a ragged b-line from the banks of the frozen Yukon River to the sun-blasted hinterlands of Barcelona, and all the way to the "cat's cradle' of the ring-roads in Beijing. In A Violent Streak, anxiety, ritual, the inertia of family trauma, expatriatism and sexual politics collide, testing the virtue of flight, haste and distraction. Here the poet compulsively overhauls and fractures her sense of self, revealing that between blithe stabs at domesticity and endless flat shares, the "fabled Spanish light, like powdered glass, begins to wear her down..."
About the author
was born in Kamloops, and grew up in British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon. Her poetry has appeared in numerous Canadian literary journals, including the Montreal Poetry Prize Global Anthology, and was awarded second place in the 2015 Prism international poetry contest. She was awarded a faculty studentship at the University of Manchester in 2016, and is working toward a PhD in poetry.
"Read this couplet from "Referents" aloud:
"lexically dekeing: Lake Tullamene, tamarack,
forty clicks til Grand Prairie. Douglas fir, golden larch,
She is whizzing through hard towns and hard sounds as fast as she can. The beautiful surprise in this work is how dangerously the author zags from image to image to meaning. In my first read I had to throw on the brakes to let danger cross me, as if it were running a light. Internally, I egged her on. A few times she went further and faster than I could have hoped.
The pleasure in A Violent Streak is knowing Warner will push the limit; just short of a game of literary chicken, she is never out of control. Warner's thrill is the intensity of her images and settings. . . Warner's Streak is cutthroat and clever, never pretentious and never hobbled by shame or preciousness, which makes me love it all the more."
— BC BookLook (See the entire review at bcbooklook.com/2019/03/20/speed-sex-and-moonshine/)
"Reading Stephanie Warner is like shooting adrenalin into your weary eyeballs. Reading A Violent Streak reminded Today's book of poetry of the very first time we read Hunter S. Thompson. Today's book of poetry doesn't mean to compare Warner to Thompson in any way. The comparison is in the feeling generated by the astonishment at the machine-gun quick mind behind this trigger. A Violent Streak fulfills all of your quotas for excitement. . . The staff in our office could see that Today's book of poetry was blue and driving in low gear, so Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, took over the reins on this morning's read. The consensus was clear, we were all impressed by Stephanie Warner's scope, range and beauty. . . Stephanie Warner is one of the few disciples of the more is more school. Most poets work hard to trim the fat, Warner burns that s***. These poems are the proverbial brass ring. Warner burns, these poems are poetry feasts."
— Today's book of poetry blog
"A verbal maximalist, Stephanie Warner explores ideas of reality and escapism, happiness and hurt in poems that unspool with off-balance sentences and mind-bending acts of observation (where the Mars Rover becomes "the world's fanciest / Swiss army knife, trawling a crater / the size of Texas" and lichen is "plashed on the stones like the mother-boards / of steam-punk computers"). A Violent Streak is a fantastic debut: unabashed, virtuosic; a gifted poet 'keening in many tongues.'"
— Carmine Starnino