East and West, Laura Ritland’s astonishing debut, is a book of visions. These are roving poems drawn to defamiliarizing points of view, and are exquisitely attentive to the way the world exceeds our senses (“Cloud deduced cloud / after cloud and cloud.”) Beckoningly tender, lucid and intelligent, elegaic without being maudlin, East and West explores the thresholds—or “middle ground”—of childhood and family, diaspora and migration, and how new cultural ideas can disrupt traditional perspectives. “My bedroom window an escape hatch / to endless sights of coastal stars.” Ritland takes the measure of herself“I’m an integer of my own society”—in one of the most distinctive and beautifully turned styles in Canadian poetry.
About the author
Laura Ritland’s poems have appeared in magazines across Canada, including The Fiddlehead, CNQ, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Arc Poetry Magazine, and The Malahat Review. A recipient of the 2014 Malahat Far Horizons Award for Poetry, she currently divides her time between Vancouver and the California Bay Area, where she is a PhD student in English at UC Berkeley.