Mortal Arguments is Sue Sinclair's second poetry collection. In it, she continues her extraordinary phenomenological investigation of lived experience, addressing with increasing urgency issues of profound philosophical and political importance such as consumerism, privilege, and our ability to respond to the suffering of others. Her voice combines great metaphorical brilliance with the depth one expects of a much older writer. Her poems will remind readers by turns of Rilke and Heine: urgent, sorrowing, ecstatic. This is an important book by one of Canada's finest young poets.
Not because it is sufficient, but because
we subsist on light, and what doesn't
cry out to be noticed? There's something here
you might recognize, but you're not sure; still, you're willing
to risk it: the loss of everything, seen and unseen,
the before and the after. It doesn't depend on you
but you move toward it. Because as long as there's a moment
here or there, why not arrange a few roses
in a jar, give thought to their listlessness, how they gather
the room about them yet think nothing of it, how each
thorn persists, how they have made a purpose
of holding still? Then you remember
the necessary and sufficient. This isn't it,
but you don't know where else to begin.
About the author
Sue Sinclair grew up in St. John's, Newfoundland. Her extraordinary poetic powers were first recognized when she won two creative writing awards at University of New Brunswick: the Walker Prize and the Angela Ludvine Memorial Prize. Her first poetry collection, Secrets of Weather & Hope, was a finalist for the 2002 Gerald Lampert Award, and her second, Mortal Arguments, was a finalist for the Atlantic Poetry Prize. Her work appears frequently in magazines such as The Fiddlehead, Canadian Literature, Grain, The New Quarterly, and The Malahat Review, and in anthologies such as Coastlines and Breathing Fire II.
" ... Disciplined in severe winter distances, whiter than light ... her rhythms are forged and flecked with silence, and careful with the presence they witness. Before these poems, praise fails. I am profoundly grateful for what I am learning from the work of this poet."--Warren Heiti, The Fiddlehead
" ... The aptness of Sinclair's metaphors, the way they seem to direct attention away from themselves and to a larger world, is reminiscent of Emerson ... We're lucky to have Mortal Arguments."--Brian Bartlett, Books in Canada
"Reading Sinclair has always been, for me, like lying in a open field, watching the sky, and waiting. The practice opens us to depths we wouldn't have otherwise imagined, and when we get up again, we often see the world around us with the precision of a diamond cutter."--Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Antigonish Review