The ocean has never had a biographer quite like Sue Goyette. Living in the port city of Halifax, Goyette’s days are bounded
by the substantial fact of the North Atlantic, both by its physical presence and by its metaphoric connotations. And like
many of life’s overwhelming facts, our awareness of the ocean’s importance and impact waxes and wanes as the ocean
sometimes lurks in the background, sometimes imposes itself upon us, yet always, steadily, is. This collection is not your
standard “Oh, Ocean!” versifying. Goyette plunges in and swims well outside the buoys to craft a sort of alternate,
apocryphal account of our relationship with the ocean. In these linked poems, Goyette’s offbeat cast of archetypes (fog
merchants, lifeguards, poets, carpenters, mothers, daughters) pronounce absurd explanations to both common and uncommon
occurrences in a tone that is part cautionary tale, part creation myth and part urban legend: how fog was responsible for
marriages, and for in-laws; why running, suburbs and chairs were invented; what happens when you smoke the exhaust from a
pride of children pretending to be lions. All the while, the anthropomorphized ocean nibbles hungrily at the shoreline of
our understanding, refusing to explain its moods and winning every staring contest. “I wrote these poems,” comments
Goyette, “because I know very little about the ocean and yet rely on it like a mirror, a compass.” In Ocean, Goyette
demonstrates how a spirited, playful and richly mythopoetic engagement with the world can actually strengthen our grasp on
its bigger truths.
Winner of the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterwork Arts Award and finalist for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize.
About the author
Sue Goyette has published nine books of poems and a novel. Her collections include The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl, Penelope and Ocean (for which she was awarded the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award). She is the editor of Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo (University of Regina Press, 2021), The 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology (Anansi, 2017) and The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 (Tightrope Books, 2013). Her work has been translated into French, Spanish and German and has been featured in films, subways, buses, spraypainted on a sidewalk and tattooed. She was nominated for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award and has won several national awards including the Pat Lowther Award, the Bliss Carman Award, and the CBC Literary Prize for Poetry. She is the Artist in Residence in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba and Poet Laureate for Halifax Regional Municipality. She lives in Halifax (K'jipuktuk) where she teaches in the creative writing at Dalhousie University.
Other titles by Sue Goyette
A Different Species of Breathing
The Poetry of Sue Goyette
Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo
The 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology
A Selection of the Shortlist