Shortlisted, Raymond Souster Award
In this timely and powerful debut, Síle Englert explores what it is to feel othered in a world where everything is connected. Moving through time and memory — from childhood to motherhood, from historical figures and events to the precarious environment of the Anthropocene — Englert’s voice brims with grief while still holding space for whimsy.
Juxtaposing unlikely metaphors and inchoate memories, these poems wander a timeline where Amelia Earhart’s bones call out from the past, an abandoned department store mannequin keeps an eye on the future, and spacecraft sing to each other through the dark: "we are only what we remember." Unearthing objects beautiful and bizarre, The Lost Time Accidents challenges the reader’s perceptions, finding empathy for the lost, the broken, and the overlooked.
About the author
Síle Englert is a queer, Autistic writer and multidisciplinary artist from London, Ontario. She is the author of two chapbooks: The Phobic’s Handbook and Threadbare. Her poetry and fiction work have appeared in the Fiddlehead, Canthius, Room Magazine, and the Dalhousie Review.
- Short-listed, Raymond Souster Award
Excerpt: Lost Time Accidents (by (author) Síle Englert)
My mouth, where you put discarded things:
rust icicle broken from a car-body,
dark apron, its pocket still heavy with coins,
finger-painting in purple, black and blue.
I swallowed paper names
your tongue stumbled, forgot
and spat, mispronounced, at the air.
Wore down my teeth chewing cast-off
clothing, hoping saliva would dissolve
your smell, a dusting of cells.
My mouth, your unwilling oubliette:
tonguing broken aquarium glass,
the taste of ink licked from salt palms,
my lips mottled by storm clouds.
I eat your leftovers.
“The Lost Time Accidents demonstrates an obvious mastery of language, imagery, and literary devices. Gorgeously executed and obviously queer, each poem in the collection is a triumph.”
“‘We drag the future through every hesitant hour, / scrabbling for safe places to grow fragile things.’ Englert is the loving curator of our peculiarities and vulnerabilities, giving a radically empathetic behind-the-scenes tour of the magpie museum of memory. Weaving a heady dark magic, like having your blood drawn by a gently mesmerizing vampire, The Lost Time Accidents bares the body’s interior beauty with reverence for its mysteries. These poems are bewitching post-apocalyptic love songs from the Island of Misfit Toys, a lost map to a secret garden, the fossilized remains of fabulous sea creatures, a crystalline curiosity cabinet of rare spun glass insects, the difference engine of alternate history and histology, an autopsy by gaslight of the heavy human heart. With painterly vision and precise language, Englert makes new the world, knowing that ‘To find what’s left of our names, / these rock bellies must be broken open.’”
Roxanna Bennett, author of <i>The Untranslatable I</i>
“Singular in vision and capacious in range, this book is a dazzling cauldron of uncanny apparitions and bewildering life. Whale hearts and hunger stones, plastic rivers and taxidermied bees, synthetic wombs and dinner party mannequins — here is a trove of unusual voices wrought with agility, poise, and care. Equally adept in the plasticized, the chemical, and the creaturely, Englert crafts backstitched requiems for the copious lost.”
David Huebert, author of <i>Humanimus</i>
“Englert is willing to confront the inevitability of death and decomposition of the physical body, and yet she still imagines a future in which the traces of a person never truly disappear. ... Her collection is a journey in many different registers, and her elegance and her nuanced, vulnerable vision make it a truly moving book.”
“Beautiful, haunting, psychological and vividly real all at once, Englert’s The Lost Time Accidents is definitely worth the read.”
“Englert’s poems exist as echoes of folk tales or fables, offering her takes that thread a particular truth or deep wisdom through its narrative quilt. Hers is a surrealism that enters the room like smoke, providing a quiet use of space and rhythm.”
<i>Dusie</i>, “Best 2021 Canadian poetry books”
“The poems in this debut full-length collection reveal slights of hand, the inner workings of an acute sensibility, and so much more in a series of improbable accidental disclosures.”
<i>The Prairie Journal</i>