St. Kilda is a barren, rocky archipelago 60 km off the west coast of Scotland. In 1930, harsh conditions led the islands’ remaining 36 inhabitants to relocate to the mainland. Left behind were seabirds and a population of feral sheep. In Leaving the Island, her first poetry collection, Talya Rubin enters the isolated lives of those last Kildareans, and probes the “desert places”—to use Frost’s phrase—in herself. Written during a series of extended trips abroad, including stays in Australia and Greece, Rubin’s poems return, again and again, to a psychological landscape where “mud and rock / and sea and salt and oily smell / of fish and fowl is all, all.” Rife with exacting wordplay and frank self-reckonings, Leaving the Island is a book about endings and what remains when we start over.
About the author
Talya Rubin is a Canadian poet originally from Montreal. She was awarded the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers from the Writers' Trust of Canada in 1998. Her poetry has been longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize and the Montreal International Poetry Prize. In 2015, whe won the Battle of the Bards and was invited to read at the Toronto International Festival of Authors. Her first collection, Leaving the Island, was published in 2015. Talya holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She also runs a theatre company called Too Close to the Sun, and currently lives in Perth, Australia with her husband and son.