Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry Canadian

The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand

The Poetry of M. Travis Lane

by (author) M. Travis Lane

edited by Jeanette Lynes

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2007
Canadian, Canadian, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2007
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2010
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane is a collection of thirty-five of her best poems, selected with an introduction by Jeanette Lynes. An environmentalist, feminist, and peace activist, M. Travis Lane is known for witty and meticulously crafted poems that explore the elusive nature of “home” in both historical and present contexts and reflect on the identity of the woman poet and what it means to be a writer. Lane’s poems exhibit impressive range and variety—long poems, short lyrics, serial poems, poems inspired by visual art—and are richly attentive to the landscapes, both urban and wild, of her New Brunswick home. They voice a sense of urgency with respect to ecological crises and war; her poetic attention fixes unwaveringly on the smallest pebble on the coast of Fundy but is equally attuned to global patterns of destructive domination.

In her introduction “As Opportunity for Grace, This Life May Serve”, editor Jeanette Lynes discusses how Lane’s poetry integrates an ecopoetic vision with explorations of the artist’s task of mapping her world. Lane’s afterword reinforces her sense of the poet’s project as a form of mystical play, a search for patterns in the “unified disunities” of all things.

About the authors

As a child, an "army brat," M TRAVIS LANE traveled almost yearly, and had no home town. Educated at Vassar and Cornell, she came with her family to Fredericton in 1960, where they became Canadian citizens. She is Honorary Research Associate with the English department at the University of New Brunswick, a member of Voice of Women for Peace and the Raging Grannies, and has been writing reviews for The Fiddlehead for half a century. Long recognized in Atlantic Canada, M. Travis Lane is finally being acknowledged nationally as one of the country's finest living poets. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Alden Nowlan Award, the Atlantic Poetry Prize, the Bliss Carman Award, and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Crossover is her fifteenth poetry title.

M. Travis Lane's profile page

It's Hard Being Queen: The Dusty Springfield Poems is Jeanette Lynes` fourth collection of poetry. Her previous collections are Left Fields (Wolsak and Wynn, 2003, shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award), The Aging Cheerleader’s Alphabet (Mansfield Press, 2003), and A Woman Alone on the Atikokan Highway (Wolsak and Wynn, 1999). Her awards include the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, the Bliss Carman Award, and first prize in the Grain Postcard Story Competition. She has been a visiting artist / writer-in-residence at Queen’s University, Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, and the Saskatoon Public Library, as well as a faculty member of Francis Xavier University and the Sage Hill Writing Experience. She is currently co-editor of The Antigonish Review.Jeanette Lynes grew up on a farm in Alice Munro country while "Son of a Preacher Man" played on transistor radios everywhere.

Jeanette Lynes' profile page

Excerpt: The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane (by (author) M. Travis Lane; edited by Jeanette Lynes)

You Want Your Truths Told of You by E. Travis Lane

You want your truths told of you—

those wavery lines!

Each pencil mark's a fiddlehead

unfolding to an island of wild fern,

of alders, grass, of willow trees,

of sharp dams in the silty sand

where a barefoot girl stands

to watch a cattle barge

rock, like a cradle in the wind.

She can not tell them where she stands,

her nude toes turning blue as clams

in the murky water where it chafes

the green facts into islands—

shoals, reefs, whirlpools, naked trees

scoured by the ice.

Her plain nouns bell their inner folds

like a coiled spring uncoiling

or like eggs

that tremble in her hand and beat

their shells with razor bills and spread

out wings.

Their shadows cast on the millstream float

on spinning water for all time,

never entirely truthful.


Editorial Reviews

''Excellently selected and edited by Jeanette Lynes for the Laurier Poetry Series, this tidy text renders Lane's oeuvre accessible to new readers.''

The Dalhousie Review

''Lane's poems are regularly capable of disarming their readers with what Jeanette Lynes--in her introduction to the book--calles a ‘willingness to let the odd, the quirky, the eccentric, sing’. The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand exults in a wilderness that is...not always interpretable or scriptable by humanity...Lane's poetics connote a...deferral of...ego to the uninterpretable natural world.''

The Goose, 4:1, Fall 2008

''Lane presses the belief that the key to significant action is the relinquishing of ego [in her] in a brief but inspired afterword.''

Journal of Canadian Poetry

''Lane's work is comprehensive and thorough with lively images, deep and passionate feeling, provocative thought, and comfortable strength.... Lane... says 'poetry is a pleasure with the sound of meaning.' Her work is indeed a pleasure, and it is further pleasure to have it published in the Laurier Poetry Series.''

The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton, NB), January 19, 2008

''The aspect I admire most about this selection is the sheer range of Lane's imagination.... Wisdom is found in abundance in this collection.... There are two quotations from the afterword that sum up for me the experience of reading M. Travis Lane. 'Mystery, I think, is the cheif subject of poetry' (77) and 'a poem is not a message, but a sharing' (79). There is a seeking spirit moving through these poems, and readers will be grateful for what it shares.''

PoetryReviews, September 2009

''The quest for a wider audience for poetry may be quixotic, but this series makes a serious attempt to present attractive, affordable selections that speak to contemporary interests and topics that might engage a younger generation of readers. Yet it does not condescend, preferring to provide substantial and sophisticated poets to these new readers. At the very least, these slim volumes will make very useful introductory teaching texts in post-secondary classrooms because they whet the appetite without overwhelming.''

Canadian Literature, 193, Summer 2007

''[A]s someone who only discovered Lane's work with Temporary Shelter in 1993, I appreciate the opportunity to read earlier poems and to glimpse the chronological evoluation of her craft.... Even though this book is aimed at students as well as general readers, with its useful introduction and generous Afterword, in which we meet the poet stepping outside her craft to say what is and has been important to her, the beating heart of it is of course in the poems themselves.''

ARC Poetry Magazine, 60, Summer 2008

Other titles by M. Travis Lane

Other titles by Jeanette Lynes

Related lists