Poems that navigate the turbulent passages of our lives, returning to them transient joys, persistent sorrows, openings to tenderness.
Urgent and precarious, the poems in The Rapids, Susan Gillis' third collection, take us to places lost and reclaimed: a balcony high over the St. Lawrence River in downtown Montreal, upstream to the Lachine Rapids, and beyond, to landscapes as far apart as Greece and the B.C. coast. In the same way that Hokusai depicted the sacred Mount Fuji from different vantages at different times of year and day, Gillis depicts the St. Lawrence and the Lachine Canal in spring, summer, winter, and fall, from dawn to dusk, as a background to ordinary and sometimes extraordinary experiences. The presiding spirit of the book is force: wind, water, and time at work on the body and on the body of the world. Like the river that is its measure, The Rapids is full of sudden shiftsÑa polyphony of surges and eddies and remarkable leaps.
"With The Rapids Gillis draws on [the river's] power, startling us, jostling us, but ultimately ferrying us smoothly out toward wider, bigger waters." -- Abby Paige, The Montreal Review of Books
"The Rapids is as exhilarating as a salt-spray Spring ... Each lyric is a kind of 'shooting of rapids': one plunges, lunges, curves, swerves, from one eddying idea or scene to the next, on to endings that are only pauses." -- George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle Herald
"For those of us who feel they don't have time to waste on mediocre offerings from the poetic muse, The Rapids by Susan Gillis is a relief." -- Heather Craig, Telegraph-Journal