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Poetry Canadian

Singed Wings

by (author) Lola Lemire Tostevin

Initial publish date
Sep 2013
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
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Working for decades in English and French in poetry, novels, and translations that investigate the relationship between language and female subjectivity, Lola Lemire Tostevin has hewn her own unique and intensely aesthetic path across the national literary landscape, earning her the reputation as one of Canada’s leading feminist writers.
Tostevin’s latest offering of poetry emerges from her deep-seated interest in the creativity of women who face advanced age and its ­ailments. Through study of exhibitions in galleries and museums, films and dance performances, and voluminous “bodies” of text, it became clear to Tostevin that aging not only serves women’s creativity but also reinforces it, revealing many forms of strength in vulnerability.
Singed Wings invites the reader to peer into the interior world of Camille Claudel, whose intimate understanding of her subjects, from young girl to old woman, captured quite a different power than that of her lover, sculptor Auguste Rodin. Although Claudel was not able to fully realize her creative process into old age, many others did, including Louise Bourgeois, Frida Kahlo, Betty Goodwin, Pina Bausch, and Agnès Varda, and it is in direct response to the vital creativity of these women that the poet finds the inspiration and determination to move her own art forward.
Spurred on by these groundbreaking precedents that displace the narcissistic, “shopworn” notion of the ideal woman described only in terms of desired female form, Tostevin allocates space where a writer ­facing her own aging process can use the experience to give it new shapes in language, positing that reimagining the various creative forms of women into language is a postmodern undertaking in an ­artistic milieu where postmodernism may turn out to have as many heads as the mythical Hydra.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Lola Lemire Tostevin is a bilingual Canadian writer who works mainly in English. She is the author of three novels, six collections of poetry, numerous pieces of short fiction, a collection of essays, as well as works of literary criticism. She has also translated the work of writers such as Anne Hébert, Nicole Brossard, Paule Thévenin, and Claude Beausoleil into English and Michael Ondaatje’s Elimination Dance into French. Her novel Frog Moon was translated into French and her collection of poetry ’sophie was translated into Italian. Her most recent novel, The Other Sister, was published in the fall of 2008. Tostevin is contributing editor of Open Letter, a Canadian journal of writing and theory. She guest-edited the 2007 summer edition of Open Letter, with the theme of mistaken identity.

Editorial Reviews

“Lola Lemire Tostevin is an incisive, intelligent, and sharply observant writer.”