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Poetry Canadian

Failure to Thrive

by (author) Suzannah Showler

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2014
Canadian, General, Women Authors
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
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Poetry of ambivalence, humour, and doubt that belies a kind of optimism

Dumpster fires outside discount stores and rotting whale carcasses; optical illusions and memento mori—all “coming to you direct, / by way of this Rube Goldberg machine.” Failure to Thrive zigzags through excess, taking in the big picture through the lens of a pinhole camera. These poems ask us to lean into our senses, to “spend time loitering, slipping coins into attention’s slots, / anticipating the next big pay-off.”

Hip and cerebral, this witty collection is as quick to make fun of itself as it is to turn its humour outward, where false historians have free rein, answers come in the form of questions, and the apocalypse seems like a good time to knit a sweater. Suzannah Showler’s debut shows us how a failing world can be the site of aesthetic renewal rather than decline.


About the author

Suzannah Showler holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Her writing has appeared in The Walrus, Hazlitt, and The Puritan.

Suzannah Showler's profile page

Editorial Reviews


“Cerebral but musical, the thinking lateral but still propulsive, Showler’s debut finds her skepticism field tested without turning into cynicism” — National Post

"Tight, poignant and accessible." — Maisonneuve

"Failure to Thrive is very much a product of its time: the poems are filled with references to chain letters, Craigslist ads, Jeopardy questions, the Google Street View Car, Scratch and Sniff stickers, Magic Eye, Etch A Sketches, and other pop culture ephemera. For those of us who grew up in the nineties, this mélange will strike a particular chord." — GUTS Magazine

"Susannah Showler’s Failure to Thrive is a flippant rejoinder to the myriad pressures on quote-unquote millennials — Showler’s brainy debut calls out the precariousness of this time above others." — National Post


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