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Poetry Canadian

Believing is not the same as Being Saved

by (author) Lisa Martin

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2017
Canadian, Inspirational & Religious, Women Authors
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2017
    List Price

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Lisa Martin’s new poetry collection seeks the kind of lyric truth that lives in paradox, in the dwelling together of seeming opposites such as life and death, love and loss, faith and doubt, joy and sorrow. Here readers will find a range of moods, tones, and subjects, as well as both traditional and contemporary forms—from sonnets to prose poems. This is a collection imbued with the light of an enduring, if troubled, faith. With its focus on spirit, ethics, and how to live well, Believing is not the same as Being Saved offers a tender meditation on the moments that make a life.

There’s a way of speaking as if the difference matters, as if the road home is finite—everything begins and ends somewhere, like your hand in mine, or how last light fractures in the limbs of pine—while beyond my window, a coyote follows a trail into the dusk that only it can see. — from "Map for the road home"

About the author

Award-winning poet, essayist, and editor Lisa Martin is the author of One Crow Sorrow (2008) and co-editor of How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting: Stories of Pregnancy, Parenthood, and Loss (2013). She teaches literature and creative writing at Concordia University of Edmonton.

Lisa Martin's profile page


  • Short-listed, Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry | Writers' Guild of Alberta
  • Short-listed, Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta
  • Short-listed, Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize

Editorial Reviews

# 4 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, April 23, 2017

'[This] is an intricate collection of poems that meditates on pivotal traumatic events in the speaker’s life that challenge her faith.... In language that turns in and out of itself in finely tuned poetic phrasing, Martin deftly manages a vision that embraces death and loss as the other side of life and love and what matters most to us.... With poems that carry a religious and philosophic fervour—whose parallel in literary tradition might be Gerard Manley Hopkins with his rapturous sonnets that delve into his own faith and doubt about God – Martin’s verses are embedded with incandescent images from the natural world and are sinuous with thought riddled with paradox." The Goose, Vol. 16, Iss. 1 [2017] [Full review at]

Gillian Harding-Russell

# 5 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Poetry, March 1, 2020

Edmonton's Bestselling Books

# 9 on Edmonton Poetry Bestsellers list, May 9, 2021

# 6 on Edmonton Poetry Bestsellers list, July 3, 2022

"Lisa Martin's "Believing is not the same as Being Saved" cleaves even closer to the holy, keeping religious motifs so near her natural language that they slip in unnoticed until they start to pile up, as in the various uses of the sword 'saved' in the title poem. Martin's best poems have a knack for reaching epiphanies by assiduously focusing and unfocusing their gaze.... Martin takes seriously the need to navigate between the philosophical and material worlds. "

Quill & Quire

"Believing is not the same as Being Saved" is a quietly elegant book of poems.... You can see and feel the meticulous care Martin has taken in crafting these poems, constructing this book.... Martin understands that much of life is a paradox, that joy and sorrow are birds dancing on the same high wire." (Full review at

Today's Book of Poetry

# 8 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, May 06, 2018

# 9 on Edmonton Poetry Bestsellers list, August 8, 2021

# 1 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, April 02, 2017

Edmonton Bestsellers

#5 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Poetry, January 3, 2021

"... a careful examination of grief, change and the lines between things. Throughout the collection, Martin’s speaker is deeply attuned to the mutability of the world. Images blend, timelines shift, and everything changes.... Martin urgently carries life and death to the reader, not to provide answers or antidotes, but to do the important work of showing us the rawness of living in a world where good things end." [Full review at]

Prairie Fire

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