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Poetry Canadian

Suicide Psalms

by (author) Mari-Lou Rowley

Anvil Press Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2008
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2008
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'Suicide Psalms' is both hymn and visceral scream-of loss, despair, hope and ultimately redemption. These poems are drawn out with quick precision, as if they were indeed written in haste, or delirium, before tightening the noose or firing the pistol or jumping off of the ledge. Even though the media has recognized suicide as an epidemic, it is still not "talked" about outside of grief management and support groups. The subject remains taboo, and those left behind face a legacy of silence, shame and guilt. The poems in the first section of the book "Suicide Notes" attempt to answer the question "why"? Their density of language, slippage of syntax, sound play, repetition, and visceral imagery engender both empathy and relief, as each poem bears witness and pays homage. The work also addresses a larger collective malaise: the disintegration of society and "self," the loss of innocence and exploitation of youth, and the hopelessness and despair that smoulders under the veneer ofcorporate greed, rabid consumerism, and the resultant addictions, aberrations and violence.

"And so it is that those friends who have lived close to suicide become the prophets who might lead us through the gathering darkness of our despairing ecocidal age-into more honourable, tender, sustainable ways of living together on this groaning, delicate, crying earth. 'That something better rises out of the ashes.' This is Rowley at her heart stammering, howling, apocalyptic, playful, musical best."- Di Brandt

"The poems of Mari-Lou Rowley's 'Suicide Psalms' are deft, double-edged, 'kill sites bedded with violets,' songs of violent beauty. Scalene: the constantly shifting, sharpening edges and angles (no two sides ever the same) of 'Suicide Psalms'' three movements balance, ultimately, in a perfect complex structure. Dissonant; harmonic. Rowley's poetry, as always, a snapping, synaptical singing, stinging electric. In the necessary, unpredictable climate of 'Suicide Psalms', 'the windfingers/all possible points of entry/conclusions/ways out.'"- Sylvia Legris

About the author

Mari-Lou Rowley has published six previous collections of poetry, most recently CosmoSonnets (JackPine 2007) and Viral Suite (Anvil Press 2004). Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada and the US—and on Canadian Association of Physicists website. Rowley has performed her poetry across the continent, from Harbourfront to Seattle, where she performed at Bumbershoot, Seattle’s annual arts extravaganza. She also participated in the Poetic Ecologies conference in Brussels in May 2008. Rowley has a Master’s of Liberal Studies degree from Simon Fraser University. A science writer and avid star gazer, her favourite constellation is Orion. Her favourite cosmological phenomena are binary pulsars. In 2006 she moved to Saskatoon from Vancouver to be closer to the sky.

Mari-Lou Rowley's profile page

Other titles by Mari-Lou Rowley