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Poetry Canadian

For and Against

by (author) Sharon McCartney

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Apr 2010
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2014
    List Price

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Shortlisted, Next Generation Indie Book Award

Heart-corroding sex with a tin woodman. A foundering marriage like a cat on the brink of death that still manages to purr. Sharon McCartney's visceral exploration of relationships — how they begin and end, the tenuous threads that hold people together, and the events that can tear them apart — is unstinting, eyes-wide-open aware. Beginnings, endings, transitions: none elude the sometimes sardonic but always sinuous language of these finely wrought poems.

About the author

Sharon McCartney is the author of two previous poetry
collections, Under the Abdominal Wall (Anvil) and Karenin Sings the Blues (Goose Lane), and the chapbook Switchgrass Stills (littlefishcartpress). Her work has been published in numerous magazines and journals including PRISM international, Event, Grain, sub-TERRAIN, Prairie Fire, Iowa City and the Malahat Review. McCartney has an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a law degree from the University of Victoria. She works as a legal editor in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is poetry editor for The Fiddlehead.

Sharon McCartney's profile page


  • Short-listed, Next Generation Indie Book Award, Poetry

Editorial Reviews

"McCartney has shown a delightful felicity in previous books with stapling phrases into the memory. For and Against expands this strength with different material, and it's a testament to her talent that rawness isn't diminished by an attention to fluency."

Brian Palmu

"Darkly obsessive, For and Against documents the rolling flux of life — the raw wounds of relationships in moments that are, in turn, anguished, edgy, droll, and affectionate. McCartney's poems are an extreme sport — one well worth playing."

Jeanette Lynes

"You don't read these poems, you feel them: hammer in the head, shod foot on the throat, stiletto in the heart. It's those combos of wild, piercing insights (or unusual but poignant images); yep, that's what makes it good for you — or kills you, laughing."

George Elliott Clarke

"McCartney is tough. She doesn't feel the obligation to rise above a heart-wrenching experience, to find a bright side, or to soften her bitterness... These are poems for feeling bad and liking it; not for regretting the vile things you've said and done, but for regretting that you now, alas, know better than to say or do them."

<i>The Rover</i>

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