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Poetry Canadian

Cardinal in the Eastern White Cedar


by (author) Roo Borson

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Canadian, Women Authors, Death
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price

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A captivating and poignant new collection of poetry from Griffin Poetry Prize winner Roo Borson that probes some of our most important questions.

After Roo Borson's two previous collections -- Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida and Rain; road; an open boat -- set the seasons in motion, focusing the poet's mind on time, mortality, transience, and absence, Cardinal in the Eastern White Cedar arrives to complete the triptych. From the glittering, classically rendered image to a freighted, lucid, narrative line, Borson's voice can shift and refract while holding true to the momentary facts of the shifting, given world. Her meditations are a kind of fidelity to inquiry, to attachment, to what can't be fully known. Here the distant past collides with the near future, the present opens suddenly into another age, and friendship becomes the measure of time's salience. These poems depict what vanishes, the various modest homes where half-remembered lives all flow toward their common end. Roo Borson has crowned a sustained achievement with a work of startling intimacy and vividness.

About the author

ROO BORSON is the author of ten books of poetry, including Short Journey Upriver toward Oishida, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She has also been involved in a number of collaborative projects, including Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei, by Pain Not Bread (Roo Borson, Kim Maltman, and Andy Patton). Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, such as Twentieth Century Poetry and Poetics, the Harbrace Anthology of Poetry, and the Norton Introduction to Literature. Roo Borson lives in Toronto with poet and collaborator Kim Maltman.

Baziju are currently at work on a new manuscript project called Short Moral Tales.


Roo Borson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Advance Praise for Cardinal in the Eastern White Cedar:
“Here are poems that hold the reader in a deep conversation that excites and calms in turn. . . . Through form, Borson explores what it means to be alive and mortal in the natural world with its ever-present human influences.”— Canadian Poetry Review
“Many poets write of mortality, evanescence and the passage of time. But in her 14th collection, Toronto’s Roo Borson, a previous winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award, offers fresh, profound and piercingly affecting reflections on those familiar themes.”
The Star
Praise for Roo Borson's Poetry:
 • "In poetry, few things matter so much as a hungry eye, a fresh way of responding to the world . . . Roo Borson is a true original." -- Maclean's
 • "Roo Borson invites us to embark on a meditative, imaginative and spiritual journey. This book has a profound inner life. It is resonant and whole, moving with quiet, apparently easy steps into the depth of human experience." -- Jury citation, Governor General's Award
 • "This is the work of a poet writing at the height of her powers. It is a poetic journal of mortality, . . . of entering middle age, and of journeying through landscape, seasons, plants, pasts, to find it again. The book is a small perfection in its construction, moving deftly through seasons and forms . . ." -- Jury citation, Griffin Poetry Prize

Other titles by Roo Borson