2020 GERALD LAMPERT MEMORIAL AWARD SHORTLIST In acclaimed short-fiction writer Heather Birrell's rollicking debut full-length poetry collection, Mr. T, Joni Mitchell, Fidel Castro, and the poet's mother (among others) barge in to distract and derail the poet's dreams. The poems in this book are playful, hallucinatory, and often funny. They explore the far-fetchedness and perseverance of love between friends and family members, the importance of libraries and locked mental health wards, and ways to live with meaning in the face of a looming apocalypse. Birrell's poetry lines-weaving through an acrobatic breadth of forms and tones-are both precise and plainspoken, and showcase an odd, intuitive logic, embracing the surrealism of this world we're stuck in.
Canadian writer Heather Birrell is the author of two acclaimed story collections, Mad Hope (one of the Globe and Mail's top 23 fiction picks) and I know you are but what am I? (both from Coach House Books). Her work has been honoured with the Journey Prize for short fiction and the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction and has been shortlisted for both National and Western Magazine Awards (Canada). Her essays have recently appeared in The M Word and Canadian Notes & Queries and received notable mention in Best American Essays 2017. She recently returned to poetry with a chapbook titled Dreaming Fidel (Proper Tales Press). www.heatherbirrell.com