These poems imagine the reconciliation of material reality with the spirit's longing, through travel, the physical displacement of time and space, through contemplation, and through the unsettling of language. The submerged foundations of a ruined city, place names that recall the past, ancient statuary, a drop of water echoing in an empty tomb, personal memories, heat left on a path walked by generations?these remnants of passage are examined intensely, often through a lens rippled by water or vapour, looking back toward their origins and forward into the possibilities of transformation.
Susan Gillis has lived on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada, and now lives most of the year in Montreal, where she teaches English. Her poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies, and her first book, Swimming Among the Ruins (Nuage/Signature 2000), was shortlisted for the 2001 Pat Lowther Award and the 2001 Re-Lit Award. "Kitchen Floor," a limited-edition broadside illustrated by Lori Doody, ws published by Delirium Press in 2002. Volta in Susan's second book.
"In her debut collection, Susan Gillis transforms the familiar themes of “poet abroad/poet in love? into a work that is both new and remarkable. with haiku-like attention to both mood and description, Gillis takes the reader along with her as she travels through foreign landscapes of both an external and internal nature."?Canadian Bookseller "Rapt, wholly attentive to the tang of the moment, Susan Gillis? poems take us to moods we thought familiar and reveal them as thresholds of risk and awakening: they remind us that vulnerability to lyric beauty is always the necessary danger."?Don McKay "Susan Gillis? wonderful debut collection is a risky adventure into the always difficult poetic terrain of love of men and women, of places known and unfamiliar and, ultimately, of self. Her particular slant on the subject is the notion that "what's hardest is not to know why / but how anything happens." As if to nail down the "how" of it, her poems brim with sensual, exact images of the natural world, in a voice that confirms a natural ear for the music of her lines, and a mastery of craft that is a pleasure to watch at work."?Michael Harris.