Meredith Quartermain's Lullabies in the Real World is a sequence of poems about a train journey from West Coast to East Coast that invokes a patchwork of regions, voices and histories. Her language zings with train rhythms as she unfolds a complex conversation with poets such as bpNichol and Robin Blaser.
This collection reflects and refracts Canada from diverse angles, and challenges colonizing literatures such as the Odyssey and various canonical British and US voices. As it moves from west to east, the book journeys back in time to interrogate historical events such as the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the exclusion of Acadians. It ends by imagining a time before or outside colonization.
Rich, playful and confrontational, Lullabies in the Real World widens the poetic lens of poetry to investigate the place of a colonial nation in history, and the place of a poet vis-à-vis the voices of other poets.
Praise for Lullabies in the Real World:
"Playful and serious, waving to bpNichol, Robin Blaser, and Homer, Meredith Quartermain questions and elicits the classic cross-Canada poetic journey. Her cut-ups and substantiations, echoes and plot decoys, rhythmic clickings, bilanguaged mashups and toponomastic calibrations bring us a joyous un-epic, full of Learning Coordinators, museums, watercourses, city streets, and the inside/outside of identity and weather, historical and new."
~ Erín Moure, award-winning author of The Elements
"Meredith Quartermain torques the fabric of language to move us across the Canadian landscape between train tracks, tanneries, and graffiti tags with the rhythm of a dancing ear and a flaneuse's critical eye. These are poems made of breath, rifts, and music, at once impressionistic and precise. They unsettle history and make us party."
~ Shazia Hafiz Ramji, author of Port of Being
"Ride the Quartermain line. Steam across Canada on the milkiest of runs with this guide, alert always to the particular ecological, historical, and literary strata of places. With language as its engine, Lullabies goes irrepressibly off the rails at every turn, and in those detours shows us where we live."
~ Susan Holbrook, author of Throaty Wipes
"In Lullabies in the Real World, Meredith Quartermain takes us 'backwards,' by train, along the literal tracks laid down by the colonial enterprise that made Canada. Her poems shush and clunk to us as we move across over-storied territories, not to lull us to sleep but to wake us out of false knowing. Her sound-songs challenge our attachment to colonial place names and histories, spinning new yarns of possibility to unknow, unremember and unharm. Quartermain's earnest unmappings help us imagine a futurity 'before sixty-second minutes,' in fuller harmony with the lands' long histories."
~ Sonnet L'Abbé, author of Sonnet's Shakespeare