There is the heartbreak tied to human love and there is heartbreak that points to notions of the divine. The poems in Suzanne Buffam's debut collection, Past Imperfect, enter the darkness of both -- at times simultaneously -- giving utterance to the breakage and shards of weak light found therein. Employing humour and directness to equal effect, Past Imperfect admits the self is fluid; so we wave farewell to many selves.
These are poems of great intensity, driven by intelligence, tracing the barely knowable contours of a soul-in-progress. In a voice as confident, elegant, and vivid as it is brimming with doubt, Past Imperfect employs recurrent images like echoes or quiet obsessions. These become totems of absence, of presence, of the potential other, or simply, of the world as it is: breathtakingly beautiful, refusing to minister to our solitude.
Suzanne Buffam was born in Montreal, raised in Vancouver, and currently lives in Chicago. Her first collection of poetry, Past Imperfect, was named a Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail and won the Gerald Lampert Award. Her second collection of poetry, The Irrationalist, was named a finalist for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in international anthologies and publications, including Poetry, Jubilat, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Books in Canada, and Breathing Fire: Canada’s New Poets; and has been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Slovenian. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.