'What if …?' is one of the constant themes in human life – all the choices not made, things not done, lives not lived. In This Imagined Permanence, Stephens's second collection of poetry, she traces the reflections of a lesbian preoccupied by the what-ifs of existence. Poet and voyeur, philosopher and recluse, the narrator contemplates the passions and desires of women who exist as she herself cannot. Burdened by her decision to lead a life in the margins, she attempts to make other women's lives her own. A haunting investigation of the universal difficulty of reaching out, entering forbidden territory, living in a precarious world – and a magnificent sequel to hivernale, Stephens's first book of poems.
Nathalie Stephens writes l’entre-genre in English and French. Her most recent works include L’Injure, Paper City and Je NathanaÃ«l, which was also released in English self-translation (BookThug, 2006). L’Injure was a finalist for the 2005 Prix Alain-Grandbois and le Prix Trillium; the fiction Underground was a finalist in 2000 for the Grand Prix du Salon du livre de Toronto. Stephens is the recipient ofa 2002 Chalmers Arts Fellowship. She currently teaches in the MFAW program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.