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Poetry Canadian


by (author) Patrick Horner

University of Calgary Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Canadian, Magical Realism, Nature
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

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Relic species extinct everywhere else on the planet thrive on a remote archipelago. Evolution requires isolation, and these islands offer the perfect environment for genetic variation to take place, fostering new and unique forms of flora and fauna. Evolutionary biologists Emily and Roland have come on an extended field expedition to this secluded world, eager to expose its unique biosphere.


As they work to gather a large dataset of dead specimens for study and description, Emily and Roland experience growing shifts in their perception, in their bodies, and even in the flow of linear time. The environment they have come to quantify acts upon them, the species they collect observe and comment upon them, and the controlled lens of science cannot save them. Succumbing to the dynamic power of isolation, they find themselves irrevocably changed.


A poetic novel told through field notes, letters, and scientific data, Refugia is a story of discovery and transformation that shows the hubris inherent in the idea that humans live both outside, and at the center of, the natural world. This is a book that reveals science in all its imperfect beauty, crossing the line between observer and observed, scientist and subject, between what is known and what is unknowable.

About the author

Patrick Horner is a Canadian poet and engineer living in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he works to develop new water treatment technology. He co-wrote and co-produced Waste Dump, a serial radio play, and his poetry and fiction have been published in Wax, Dandelion, Broken Pencil, and more. Refugia is his first book of poetry.

Patrick Horner's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Narrative grounds us, in life, and in poetry, and Refugia, Patrick Horner’s debut, benefits from well-developed character and drama, strong roots typically associated with fiction.

The Literary Review of Canada

Horner’s book will keep you guessing, and after a few reads you just might start to notice something

AlbertaViews Magazine

This collection reveals an already-major writer in command of her craft.

The Winnipeg Free Press

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