Anne Marie Todkill's debut recalibrates the anxiety of the present. It gives doubt a hearing, finding resilience in fragility and grace in unexpected places.
The poems assembled in Orion Sweeping take nothing at face value. What are we to make of a radioactive souvenir, a shape-shifting dog, landscapes made strange by time? The speakers gathered here seek to set the record straight: a mink gives advice; a wolf disputes a rumour; a photographer zooms in on a kill; a military strategist gives lessons in peace. But the sum of the evidence is not bleak. A baby arrives as robustly as a whale; the solidarity of marriage is enacted in surprising ways; father and daughter share a gift for reprieve. Under the penetrating gaze of these poems, beauty and tenderness come quietly into view.
About the author
Anne Marie Todkill has lived mainly in her home town, Ottawa, but has been setting down new roots in Wollaston Township, Ontario, where she lives off-grid with her husband. She spent many years as a medical and academic editor, but never strayed far from her lifelong, intersecting preoccupations with writing and the natural world. She has won Arc Poetry Magazine's Poem of the Year contest, was a recipient of Arc’s Diana Brebner Prize, and placed first – twice – in The New Quarterly's Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. She is also a past winner of The Malahat Review’s Creative Nonfiction Prize, and her winning entry in Malahat's Novella Contest was subsequently anthologized in Best Canadian Stories. Orion Sweeping is her first book.
"Anne Marie Todkill's language is as natural as the movements of the hawk her narrator keenly observes eviscerating its prey. There's no fancy footwork here, only frankness, necessity, clarity, humility, and an amply rewarded devotion to craft." — Anita Lahey, series editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English