Propositions and Prayers, Lise Downe's first book of poetry in nine years, is a collection in two parts: "Propositions" is a series of short poems-as-possibilities, structured by the compression of images and voices to convey an urgency through degrees of incoherence; "Prayers" explores living and language as acts of devotion.
These poems blur the boundaries between inner and outer experiences of the self, often subverting expectations and habit in their deconstruction of structure and style. It beautifully portrays humanity's myriad complexities: our various moods and observations, the unpredictable trajectories of our lives—uncertainty, wonder, and surprise, all.
Praise for Propositions and Prayers:
"To read Lise Downe's Propositions and Prayers is to find oneself in the company of a mind both congenial and disquieted. Her improvisations—centrifugal, probing, and anchored in the reality of a scarcity of time off work and notes "hand-marked 'Urgent'"—are motivated by an integrity of intellect and emotion. I find Downe's poetry refreshing for its lack of emphasis on the performative and its profound trust in the self's and the world's mutual unfolding. What a beautiful book." —Mark Truscott, author of Branches
"Each small poem—'transforming/ vocals to vapor to portals'—is parsed to the delicate point of philosophical focus and, yet, also, vibrates with Downe's trademark robust enjoyment at weird worldly things and uncanny views. This collection is enormously perfect for both 3:00 a.m. staring into catastrophe and 7:00 a.m. rising to the glinting secular benediction of getting on with it. 'I have/ glossy chestnuts,' says the narrator in a rare direct look into her reader's lens. Yes, you do, oh, how you do." —Margaret Christakos, author of Her Paraphernalia
About the author
Lise Downe grew up in London, Ontario, where she experienced the art of Londoners Greg Curnoe, Jack Chambers, and Patterson Ewen, among others. After completing a major in printmaking at the Beal Art Annex , she then spent a year in England studying sculpture. On her return to Canada she painted for many years before turning her hand to writing, and later, to studying jewellery at George Brown College and OCAD. She has three previously published books of poetry – A Velvet Increase of Curiosity, The Soft Signature, and Disturbances of Progress. She has exhibited her art and jewellery in Toronto and across Canada. Lise lives in Toronto, where she continues to write and make jewellery and other small sculptures.