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Poetry Canadian

If I Were in a Cage I'd Reach Out for You

by (author) Adèle Barclay

Nightwood Editions
Initial publish date
Oct 2016
Canadian, General, Women Authors
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

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If I Were in a Cage I'd Reach Out for You is a collection that travels through both time and place, liminally occupying the chasm between Canadiana and Americana mythologies. These poems dwell in surreal pockets of the everyday warped landscapes of modern cities and flood into the murky basin of the intimate.


Amidst the comings and goings, there's a sincere desire to connect to others, an essential need to reach out, to redraft the narratives that make kinship radical and near. These poems are love letters to the uncomfortable, the unfathomable, and the altered geographies that define our own misshapen understandings of the world.

"With a depth of feeling for places and their connecting joys and aches, these are beautifully written poems, vivid as the morning paper, bracing as moonshine."
-David McGimpsey, author of Sitcom and Asbestos Heights

"Brims with cracking imagery and whip-smart delivery."
--The Winnipeg Free Press


"Adèle Barclay has that rare gift of making something entirely new feel familiar, every door she opens we want to swoon right in."
--Today's Book of Poetry


About the author

Adèle Barclay’s writing has appeared in The FiddleheadHeavy Feather ReviewThe PinchglitterMOBThe PuritanPRISM international and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2016 Lit POP Award for Poetry and the 2016 Walrus Readers’ Choice Award for Poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her debut poetry collection, If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You (Nightwood, 2016), was nominated for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. She is Arc Magazine’s Poet in Residence and an editor at Rahila’s Ghost Press. She lives on unceded Coast Salish territory/Vancouver, BC.

Adèle Barclay's profile page


  • Short-listed, ReLit Awards
  • Winner, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Editorial Reviews

“These lines—metaphorically rich and balanced with detail and ambiguity—are representative of Adèle Barclay’s assured debut.”


ARC Poetry Journal

“Brims with cracking imagery and whip-smart delivery.” 

The Winnipeg Free Press

“It is a recounting of the utterly mystifying enigma of anything that dares to call itself love. Here is a rich pageant of synesthesia-inducing imagery.”


Pacific Rim Review of Books

“In its exploration of intimacy, If I Were in a Cage is at its most reverent and mystical.” 

Room Magazine

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