Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry General

The Door

by (author) Margaret Atwood

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Sep 2007
General, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2009
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


A stunning lyrical achievement and Atwood’s first collection of new poems in over a decade.

The Door is Margaret Atwood’s first book of poetry since the award-winning Morning in the Burned House (1995). Its fifty lucid yet urgent poems range in tone from lyric to ironic to meditative to prophetic, and in subject from the personal to the political, viewed in its broadest sense. They investigate the mysterious writing of poetry itself, as well as the passage of time and our shared sense of mortality. The collection begins with poems that consider the past and ends with harbingers of things to come.

Brave and compassionate, The Door interrogates the certainties that we build our lives on.

About the author

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.
Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than fifty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid's Tale (1983), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood's dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short stories) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, part of the Massey Lecture series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood's work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. In 2004 she co-invented the Long Pen TM.
Margaret Atwood currently lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson. 

Margaret Atwood's profile page

Excerpt: The Door (by (author) Margaret Atwood)

GASOLINEShivering in the almost-drizzleinside the wooden outboard,nose over gunwale,I watched it drip and spreadon the sheenless water:the brightest thing in wartime,a slick of rainbow,ephemeral as insect wings,green, blue, red, and pink,my shimmering private sideshow.Was this my best toy, then?This toxic smudge, this overspillfrom a sloppy gascan filledwith essence of danger?I knew that it was poison,its beauty an illusion:I could spell flammable.But still, I loved the smell:so alien, a whiffof starstuff.I would have liked to drink it,inhale its iridescence.As if I could.That's how gods lived: as if.  EUROPE ON $5 A DAYSunrise. The thin pocked sheetsare being washed. The city's old,but new to me, and thereforestrange, and therefore fresh.Everything's clear, but flat –even the oculist's dingy eyes,even the butcher's, with its painted horse,its trays of watery entrailsand slabs of darkening flesh.I walk along,looking at everything equally.I've got all I own in this bag.I've cut myself off.I can feel the placewhere I used to be attached.It's raw, as when you grateyour finger. It's a shredded messof images. It hurts.But where exactly on meis this torn-off stem?Now here, now there.Meanwhile the other girl,the one with the memory,is coming nearer and nearer.She's catching up to me,trailing behind her, like red smoke,the rope we share.

Editorial Reviews

“Atwood’s poems are short, glistening with terse, bright images, untentative, closing like a vise. . . . A plain, explicit poetry, perfectly sure of itself.”
New York Times

“Margaret Atwood is best known, of course, as a novelist. But she brings to her poetry the same sharp eye and stinging wit.”
— Robert Haas, Washington Post

“Atwood is always vital, powerful, magnetically readable. . . . Readers who know only her novels really owe it to themselves to read her poems.”
“Margaret Atwood’s The Door is one of the best books by one of the best poets writing in English, written in a sparse, elegiac tone that combines illuminating intelligence with caustic humour, and wisdom that for once truly comes with age.”
- Alberto Manguel, Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year

Other titles by

Related lists