In 2006, a four-year-old Massachusetts girl died from prolonged exposure to a cocktail of drugs that a psychiatrist had prescribed to treat ADHD and bipolar disorder; her parents were convicted of her murder. In The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl, Sue Goyette strives to confront the senselessness of this story, answering logic’s failure to encompass the complexity of mental illness, poverty and child neglect (or that of our torn and tangled social ‘safety net’) with a mythopoetic, sideways use of image and language. Avoiding easy indignation, Goyette portrays the court proceedings’ usual suspects in unusual ways (the judge, the jury, the lawyers, the witnesses and the girl’s troubled parents), evokes the ghost of the girl, personifies poverty as a belligerent bully and offers an unexpected emblem of love and hope in a bear. Like the utterances of a Shakespearean fool, Goyette’s quirky, often counter-logical poems offer a more potent vision of reality than any documentary account, her eulogy for a girl society let down renewing the prospect for empathy and change.
Winner of the 2016 ReLit Poetry Award and Winner of the 2016 J.M. Abraham Poetry Prize.
About the author
Sue Goyette lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has published three books of poems, The True Names of Birds, Undone and outskirts (Brick Books) and a novel, Lures (HarperCollins, 2002). Her fourth collection of poems, Ocean, is forthcoming from Gaspereau Press in 2013. She's been nominated for several awards including the Governor General's Award for Poetry, the Pat Lowther, the Gerald Lampert, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and won the 2008 CBC Literary Prize for Poetry, the 2010 Earle Birney Prize and the 2011 Bliss Carman Award. Her poetry has appeared on the Toronto subway system, in wedding vows and spray-painted on a sidewalk somewhere in Saint John, New Brunswick. Sue currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Dalhousie University, is faculty for the Banff Wired Writing Studio and works part-time at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.
Other titles by Sue Goyette
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