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Sonnets from a Cell

by (author) Bradley Peters

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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*Winner 2024 Raymond Souster Award* Longlisted 2024 Gerald Lampert Award* Winner 2023 Alcuin Award* Poems for and about the incarcerated.

Moving from riots to mall parkades to church, the poems in Bradley Peters' debut Sonnets from a Cell mix inmate speech, prison psychology, skateboard slang and contemporary lyricism in a way that is tough and tender, that is accountable both to Peters' own days "caught between the past and nothing" and to the structures that sentence so many "to lose." Written behind doors our culture too often keeps closed, this is poetry reaching out for moments of longing, wild joy and grace.

Drawing on his own experiences as a teenager and young adult in and out of the Canadian prison system, Peters has written both a personal reckoning and a damning and eloquent account of our violence- and enforcement-obsessed capitalist and patriarchal cultures.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Bradley Peters is a poet, actor, and carpenter from Mission, BC. His poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines, has been shortlisted for The Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Award, has twice been the runner-up for Subterrain's Lush Triumphant Award, and in 2019 placed first in Grain Magazine's Short Grain contest. Sonnets from a Cell is his first book.

Editorial Reviews

In Sonnets from a Cell, Peters distills liberation from his experiences of incarceration through the confines of the sonnet form with remarkable vulnerability and wit. These technically refined poems upend notions of who is "free" and who is "protected" by providing a nuanced, emotional framework for why the abolition of prison systems is so urgent. In his elegant and poignant debut, Peters writes with a refreshing and immediately memorable voice, inviting us to experience his thoughtful perspective as soon as we "[e]nter the cell and whisper Here I am." — from the jurors of the Raymond Souster Award

"I'm struck by how artful a made thing this book is, a balance of real humility and expertise. An incredible feat." — Sheryda Warrener, author of Test Piece and Floating Is Everything

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