Winner of the 2018 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry
It was a long silence that brought me to the erasure poem. Not mine, but my brother's, during his many months in a coma. I came across a notebook of his--a pocket-sized, handwritten field guide of prairie grasses. I read it for companionship, signs of consciousness, attention. I read it for the rhythms of his still and distant hand.... I was reading a taxonomy of grief: silique drifted into soliloquy.
Comma is a poetry infused with pause and quaver, inspired by Jennifer Still's collaboration with her ailing brother's hand-written field guide to prairie grasses. Trusting the instability of words, she attends to torn paper, shadings, erasures, and intervals, venturing inside the chrysalis, the breathing tube, and the brittle lexicon of botany to achieve a lyrical foliation of grief. From coma to comma, the held breath sprouts, and hums.
Praise for Comma
Comma is a living, breathing field guide to the unconscious--Still's poems flicker and leap from the page. This collection is an immersive, tactile wonder, a compassionate, steadfast companion: a truly remarkable exploration by a truly remarkable artist. --Christine Fellows, singer/songwriter/poet and author of Burning Daylight
About the author
Jennifer Still's first collection,Saltations, was nominated for three Saskatchewan Book Awards. Her second collection, Girlwood, was a finalist for the 2012 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry and the first-prize winner of the John V. Hicks Manuscript Award. That same year, she was awarded the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer, and in 2013, she won the Prairie Fire/Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award. Still has served as faculty for the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity Wired Writing Studio and is a poetry editor for CV2. She was the 2015 University of Winnipeg Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence and will be the 2017 Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence at the University of Manitoba's Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. She lives in Winnipeg.
- Winner, Lansdowne Prize for Poetry