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Poetry Canadian

All We Saw

by (author) Anne Michaels

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Sep 2017
Canadian, Death, Love
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price

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From the internationally celebrated author of Fugitive Pieces and the Griffin Poetry Prize-shortlisted collection Correspondences -- and Toronto's Poet Laureate -- comes a profoundly moving new collection of poetry of love and memory.

In All We Saw, Anne Michaels returns to poetry with strikingly original lyrics to explore one of her essential concerns: "what love makes us capable of, and incapable of." In this passionate, piercing short collection, dedicated to the late Mark Strand, Michaels explores "love's dare / love's repair / a single stitch." In lyrics that ponder what happens to the bodies of lovers -- so vital when together, different when apart, death coming to one before the other -- she embraces both the intimacy and the vastness of the connection between two people. The complete and sheltering understanding of a great love is a powerful presence in all the poems, with its particular imagery (the ringing fog, the white page of the bed), as is the shattering loss of its end.
     Lyrics of various forms and two longer poems explore desire in a style chaste, spare, figuratively modulated, calm and almost classical in its precision. By the book's end, we are left with a renewed awareness of the mystery at the core of our astonishing lives. With Michaels, we enter a space that is "not inside / nor outside: dusk's / doorway," where memory might be kept alive.

About the author

Anne Michaels is a writer based in Toronto. Her novel, Fugitive Pieces, won the Trillium Prize and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award in Canada, the Orange Prize and the Guardian Fiction Award in the UK, and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction in the US. Her two poetry collections, The Weight of Oranges and Miner's Pond, have received high acclaim.

Anne Michaels' profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for All We Saw:
Shortlisted for the 2019 Vine Award for Poetry
All We Saw brims with a universal but writerly belief in a companionship that endures beyond death. It marks the return of a poet to her initial calling – a return forged of immense love and suffering that insists on the necessity of poetry to revive what is lost. These poems reveal the uncanny and difficult truth that acknowledges how the dead guide us. It is a brave work that shows us there are no limits to love.” --Quill & Quire
Praise for Correspondences:
"[Correspondences], for all its modesty, attempts something momentous. It is a sustained interrogation of language, memory, history, sunlight, and rain in search of words that are simple and clean enough to speak, as Michaels says, from someplace 'deeper than a single heart'. It is a search for a language not only the living but also 'the dead might understand and trust'." --Jury citation, Griffin Poetry Prize

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