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Poetry Canadian

Hand Luggage

A Memoir in Verse

by (author) P.K. Page

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Mar 2006
Canadian, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
    List Price

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Towards the end of a long and passionate life, P K Page shares in a most engaging form the highlights of a life lived to the full.

About the author

P. K. Page has written some of the best poems published in Canadaover the last five decades. In addition to winning the Governor General's awardfor poetry in 1957, she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in1999. She is the author of more than a dozen books, including tenvolumes of poetry, a novel, selected short stories, three books for children,and a memoir, entitled Brazilian Journal, based on her extended stay in Brazilwith her late husband Arthur Irwin, who served as the Canadian Ambassador therefrom 1957 to 1959. A two-volume edition of Page's collected poems, The Hidden Room (Porcupine's Quill), was published in 1997. In addition to writing, Page paints, under the name P. K. Irwin. She has mounted one-woman showsin Mexico and Canada. Her work has also been exhibited in various group shows, andis represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery ofCanada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Victoria Art Gallery, amongothers. P. K. Page was born in England and brought up on the Canadian prairies. She has livedin the Maritimes and in Montreal. After years abroad inAustralia, Brazil and Mexico, she now makes her permanent home in Victoria, British Columbia.

P.K. Page's profile page


  • Short-listed, City of Victoria Butler Book Prize
  • Long-listed, ReLit Awards, Poetry
  • Short-listed, ForeWord Magazine, Book of the Year (Autobiography/Memoir)

Editorial Reviews

'Historically, people undertaking to write autobiographies have expressed the need to excuse themselves for their presumption. Augustine frames his memoir as a confession to God, though it is uttered within the hearing of a mortal audience. Rousseau finds his own existence so exceptional that, on the grounds of uniqueness, he exempts himself from the charge of self-absorption. Thoreau explains that he wants to confront the essential facts of life, an undertaking best pursued in solitude -- at least, the literary solitude furnished by use of the first person singular. P. K. Page need supply no apology for her memoir in verse, Hand Luggage. A major poet, her first significant publication dating from 1944, P. K. Page's sheer avidity for existence on earth offers abundant reason for an account of her life.'

Malahat Review

'P. K. Page shares with her 17th-century predecessors, such as John Donne, a refusal to separate head and heart. What you hear in her work is the sound of intelligence brought crisply into focus.'

Globe and Mail

'Elegant, rigorous, fresh, P.K. Page's work sings with a voice of independent character and maenad conjecture. It is a creature that lives on its own terms and terrain. It is startling, authoritative, and anti-sentimental, able to bear cool as well as passionate gazing at our own species. Her poems are always thinking -- each line is thinking, while its six senses remain impeccably alert. Her poems live by wit, wisdom, sass, suspense and a muscular lissome synapse and diction. They are daring in scope, meticulous in accomplishment, and boldly moral -- with a lovely flavour of amoral verve! We fall under the charm of her reasoning, of her fecund, fastidious imagination, of her many musics, and of her necessariness to us, her essentialness.'

Griffin Prize Citation

Other titles by P.K. Page