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Poetry Canadian

The Good Bacteria

by (author) Sharon Thesen

House of Anansi Press Inc
Initial publish date
Mar 2006
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    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
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    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
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In crisp, intimate, and uncluttered language, award-winning and critically acclaimed poet Sharon Thesen gives us a layered meditation on energy and endings: the irrepressible energy of life; and the end of the natural world, of home, of love, youth, and safety.Thesen's talent is for catching beauty at the periphery of things -- a glimpse of neighbour's yellow dress, a tube of polysporin, a blue-and-white tin awning the mind momentarily mistakes for a lake.

Thesen's voice -- musical, personable, alive to joy and despair in equal measure -- reminds us of the kind of spiritual yearning that can surprise any of us, even in our most mundane moments. With nods to predecessors who searched for the Ideal in the local -- Frank O'Hara, Robert Creeley, S. T. Coleridge, and John Berryman -- The Good Bacteria is a beautiful addition to Sharon Thesen's considerable achievements.

About the author

Sharon Thesen
Sharon Thesen was born in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, in 1946. She moved to the British Columbia Interior in 1952 and lived in Prince George and Kamloops before settling in Vancouver in 1966. She is the author of several books of poetry and the former editor of the Capilano Review. She currently teaches English at Capilano College in North Vancouver and writes reviews for the Vancouver Sun.

Sharon Thesen is a poet, editor, and writer who was based in Vancouver, BC, before coming to UBC Okanagan in 2005. She is the author of eight books of poetry, the most recent The Good Bacteria (House of Anansi). Her books include a selected poems, News & Smoke, and several titles from the 1980s and '90s from Coach House Press in Toronto.

Sharon has been involved in the Canadian and Vancouver poetry scene for many years. As an editor, she has published two editions of The New Long Poem Anthology, a Governor-General’s Award-winning edition of Phyllis Webb’s poetry (The Vision Tree), and, from 2001 to 2005, the literary and visual arts magazine The Capilano Review. She co-edited, with Ralph Maud, a correspondence between the poet Charles Olson and book designer Frances Boldereff (Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff: A Modern Corresepondence, Wesleyan University Press).

Sharon co-edits, with Nancy Holmes, Lake: a journal of arts and environment, which is housed in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan, and continues to be a contributing editor of The Capilano Review.

Her book A Pair of Scissors won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and The Good Bacteria was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Award, the ReLit Award and the Dorothy Livesay Prize. Two earlier books also were finalists for the Governor-General’s Award, and in 2002 Sharon was a member of the jury, along with American poet Sharon Olds and Irish poet Michael Longley, for the prestigious Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry.

In addition to teaching literature and creative writing at Capilano College, Sharon has taught poetry workshops at a number of summer writing colonies, including the Banff Writing Studio, Echo Valley and St. Peter’s College, and for many years has informally mentored younger poets and writers. She has given readings at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, the Blue Metropolis Writers’ Festival in Montreal and the New Zealand Writers’ Festival in Wellington, NZ.

Sharon’s research interests are modern, postmodern, and contemporary poetry and poetics, lyric essay and philosophical autobiography, the relationship between poetic imagination and “the real,” and the Canadian long poem. She is also interested in the aesthetics of theological and mystical writings by women, as well as the relationship between psychology and ecology, and eco-poetics. She is married, with one son and one stepson. She lives in Lake Country, BC.

Sharon Thesen's profile page


  • Short-listed, Pat Lowther Memorial Award
  • Short-listed, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards: Poetry
  • Short-listed, ReLit Awards - Poetry

Editorial Reviews

...Thesen's writing is discursive and deceptively accessible.

Malahat Review

Other titles by Sharon Thesen