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Poetry Canadian

Small Mechanics


by (author) Lorna Crozier

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
Canadian, Women Authors, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price

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A radiant collection of new poems from one of Canada's most renowned and well-read poets.

The poems in Lorna Crozier's rich and wide-ranging new collection, a modern bestiary and a book of mourning, are both shadowed and illuminated by the passing of time, the small mechanics of the body as it ages, the fine-tuning of what a life becomes when parents and old friends are gone. Brilliantly poised between the mythic and the everyday, the anecdotal and the delicately lyrical, these poems contain the wit, irreverence, and startling imagery for which Crozier is justly celebrated. You’ll find Bach and Dostoevsky, a poem that turns into a dog, a religion founded by cats, and wood rats that dance on shingles. These poems turn over the stones of words and find what lies beneath, reminding us why Lorna Crozier is one of Canada’s most well-read and commanding voices.

About the author

Lorna Crozier, one of Canada's most celebrated poets, has read from her work on every continent. She has received numerous awards, including the Governor General's Award, for her fifteen books of poetry, which include The Blue Hour of the Day: Selected Poems; Whetstone; Apocrypha of Light; What the Living Won't Let Go; A Saving Grace; Everything Arrives at the Light; Inventing the Hawk; Angels of Flesh, Angels of Silence; and The Garden Going On Without Us. She has also edited several anthologies, among them Desire in Seven Voices and, with Patrick Lane, Addicted: Notes from the Belly of the Beast. She lives in Saanich, BC.

Lorna Crozier's profile page

Excerpt: Small Mechanics: Poems (by (author) Lorna Crozier)

Not a living soul about,
except for me and the magpie. I know
if I don’t keep moving, he’ll pluck
the breath from my body, taste it
on his tongue before it slides
down his throat, giving him new prophecies
to speak. He’s the bird Noah didn’t send out,
afraid he’d carry the ark’s complaints to heaven.
Tonight he scallops from the copse of willows
to the power pole, stares down at me. I match him
cry for cry, not knowing what I mean but feeling
good about it, the bird part of my brain lit up.
Coyotes, too, start their music as if the magpie’s
flown in to be the guest conductor
for the length of time it takes the sun to sink.
He flips his tail, bringing up the oboes
then the high notes of the flutes. Other souls,
those I sense but cannot see,
wait among the stones along the riverbank
until they’re sure the magpie is distracted,
then scentless and inedible to anyone but him,
they make their wingless foray
across the ice and running water,
mouthfuls of silence that, if not for coyotes,
the magpie would hear.

You admire the wild grasses
for their reticence.
When you cut across the dusk for home,
the meadow is more beautiful
for all it keeps inside.
Syllables of seeds catch in your socks
but they don’t need to say,
Thank you, friend,
even if you’ve carried them
for miles.

The new writer sucks her fingers
in her crib. There is nothing
to distinguish her – like the extra toe
on Hemingway’s
literary cats – from all the other
babies down the block.
She is dreaming ink
though she hasn’t seen it
in this world yet
and no one knows,
least of all her parents,
she loves nothing
better than the blank
flat whiteness
of the bottom sheet
when she’s laid damp
from her morning bath
upon it.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Blue Hour of the Day: Selected Poems:
“[A] marvelous Canadian poet, storyteller, truth-teller, visionary.”
— Ursula K Le Guin, New York Times Book Review
"Lorna Crozier's The Blue Hour of the Day reads like one long autobiographical poem of astonishing coherence and beauty, and so powerful that, after I'd closed the book, I found that I'd unwittingly learnt several of the lines by heart." 
— Alberto Manguel, Times Literary Supplement Books of the Yea

“Crozier writes of a world of imperfection, clumsiness, violence, betrayal, pain, and in spite of everything, delight and love. . . . Always accessible, Crozier speaks a language we understand, but she uses it to tell us of things we don’t.”
— Canadian Literature

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