Griffin Award-winner returns with new poems that are spacious with interiority, alive with a hard-earned lightness.
Waves carried a glass float--designed to hold up a fishing net--across the Pacific. Beached it safely. Someone's breath is inside it.
In Glass Float, her seventh collection, award-winning poet Jane Munro considers the widening of horizons that border and shape our lives, the familiarity and mystery of conscious experience, and the deepening awareness that comes with a dedicated practice such as yoga. This book is about connections: mind and body; self and others; physical and metaphysical; art and nature; west and east, north and south.
In "Convexities," the book's opening poem, Munro quotes the grandfather who taught her to paint: "art is suggestion; art is not representation." No concavities, he said. Only the "little hummocks" that her pencil outlined as she did contour drawings. Munro's deft suggestion, her tracing of convexities, conveys underlying complexities, not by explication, but by looking with eyes and heart open to where mysteries almost surface.
says the baby, looking
out the window at snowflakes
the old man tears up
of the human animal--
to speak, to weep
are you moved
by words--by tears
"Like glass floats themselves, these neat, clear poems contain Munro's breath. They cross oceans. Jane Munro's Glass Float--part travelogue, part journal, part meditation--picks up where Blue Sonoma ends: the speaker finds herself alone, at the live edge of her life. ... You are not merely called on to look at yourself but to 'receive your face.' A gift." --Ian Williams, author of Reproduction
About the author
Jane Munro's sixth poetry collection Blue Sonoma (Brick Books) won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. A member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko's Dogs, she has been a professor of Creative Writing at several universities in BC, taught many informal writing workshops, and read her poetry to audiences across Canada. For more than twenty years, she has studied (in Canada and in India) and practiced Iyengar Yoga. In 2012, she moved back to Vancouver--where she grew up and raised her children--after spending twenty years living rurally on the coast of Vancouver Island.
Excerpt: Glass Float (by (author) Jane Munro)
A morning glory slipped into the front hall, climbed the doorframe, and bloomed - white trumpets - inside the old house. I laughed at its wit and trained it over the top of the door the way one of my aunts trained ivy to frame her kitchen window. Ivy, another invasive species: bindweed and English ivy.
Commonwealth countries coloured pink on the world map Miss Adanac pulled down over the chalkboard in our third grade classroom. Sprawling Canada, triangular India. England also pink, the mother country.
The first time I went to India I felt as uncultured as a toddler. How to use the toilet, eat, dress myself. Even in a sari, I stood out. A mute boy's sign for me was to tap his front tooth.
My hair is now whiter than my skin.
Geeta's clues against depression #1
Today, Geeta tackles depression. Like a detective, she's been investigating it: her father's death less than four months ago.
Keep your eyes on the horizon, she begins. Widen the gaze to take in all your periphery.
See it on a big screen across the back of the brain, as if it were projected on the inside of the skull. Notice you can still see the ground - everything - without strain.
Immediately, you're with her. You've learned, by trial and error, to do this to keep your balance. It works better than fixating on something in front of you: spotting.
Geeta goes on. If you wear multifocal glasses, take them off when walking around. They make you drop your chin to look at stairs or obstacles in your path.
Draw your head back and let the neck rise up easily to support it. Lengthen the little muscles between the neck and the skull.
Shine like a full moon without dispelling the dark.
Did she really say that, you wonder. The last part. Possibly. Or what she said made you think of it. The moon is close to full - you saw it last night when you got up to pee.
"'Art is suggestion,' the poet remembers being told by her grandfather, 'art is not representation.' That distinction holds true throughout Glass Float, and yet Munro is fiendishly good at describing things, in particular a yoga retreat in India not long after the death of her husband. The book ranges from prose poem sequences to the cryptic and beautiful lyrics for which she is best known. Always, though, Munro's poems enact the advice of one of her yoga teachers: 'Shine like a full moon without dispelling the dark.'"-David Starkey, from the California Review of Books