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Poetry Canadian


by (author) Dawn Macdonald

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2024
Canadian, Women Authors, Nature
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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Fresh, funny, and imbued with infectious energy, Northerny tells a much-needed and compelling story of growing up and living in the North. Here are no tidy tales of aurora borealis and adventures in snow. For Dawn Macdonald, the North is not an escape, a pathway to enlightenment, or a lifestyle choice. It’s a messy, beautiful, and painful point of origin. People from the North see the North differently and want to tell their own stories in their own way, including about their experiences growing up on the land, getting an education, and struggling to find jobs and opportunities. Expertly balancing lyric reflection and ferocious realism, Macdonald busts up the cultural myths of self-interest and superiority that have long dominated conversations about both Northern spaces and working-class identities.

About the author

Dawn Macdonald lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she grew up in a cabin down a dirt road without electricity or running water. She studied applied mathematics and physics at university, and went to her scholarship interview wearing shoes she had found at the dump. Her summer student projects in space physics involved numerical modeling of the northern lights. Her poetry appears in magazines such as The Antigonish Review, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, FOLIO, Grain, Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, OxMag, Strange Horizons, and Vallum: A contemporary poetry, among others. Northerny is her first book.

Dawn Macdonald's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“In Northerny, Dawn Macdonald tempers a poetic soulfulness with a comic’s sense for absurdity and punch. These poems speak with smart humor and wit, linguistic delight, and honest observations spiked with confession, always with an ear, too, for what their poet can’t say. Macdonald’s take on born-and-raised life in the north avoids romantic quagmires with a well-cured settler colonial self-consciousness. Macdonald resists worn expectations in this fresh expansion of northern literature rich with voice, earned insight, and meaning.” Jeremy Pataky, author of Overwinter

“Northerny echolocates around the rural, urban, and more-than-human worlds with unflinching curiousity. Macdonald’s poetry bewilders language, making it romp, flit, and twist. Her images are in turn luminous and jarring cut with knife-sharp wit, unafraid to trespass against our expectations.” Clea Roberts, author of Auguries

“Dawn Macdonald's poetry is alive with curiosity and truth. She speaks in conversation at times soft and at times bitter, creating images from a reality that can be obscure yet familiar. Macdonald's singular work reveals the unromantic beauty of a storied northern world full of lichen, kingfishers, and dog hair. Her poems open new paths in poetry from the high latitudes. This work is a bright addition to any library.” Ernestine Hayes, Alaska State Writer Laureate 2017-2018