Shortlisted, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Part roving eye, part devotion, you wander hotel corridors, entering rooms not quite yours, trying on clothes, blankets, skins. Arguing with the body's limits and its trickery, you are always in disguise. Sometimes you're Leda; sometimes the swan. The rooms are haunted with gendered injuries of the past... but messengers arrive to guide you.
In this stunning debut collection by Ali Blythe, every poem is unerringly built with hatches and escapes. Every line shimmers with life and shivers with fleeting materials. Someone or something is always leaving. The early poems, almost claustrophobic in their double vision, gradually give way to poems of aching beauty, erotically charged by the myth of completeness. Ultimately, whether you emerge or disappear, you are transformed.
About the author
Ali Blythe's first book of poems, Twoism, was released by icehouse poetry to critical acclaim in 2015. He is the winner of the Vallum Award for Poetry, a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and the recipient of an honour of distinction from the Writers Trust of Canada for emerging LGBTQ writers. Blythe's poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies in Canada, Germany, Slovenia, and England. Blythe is also editor-in-chief of the Claremont Review, an international art and writing magazine for youth. He lives in Victoria.
- Short-listed, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
"Sometimes there is no better way to say you are sad than to say you are sad. The emotional weather in Ali Blythe's Twoism is unmistakably contemporary — the medicated ache, the raining cheer, the cool humour where once there was hope. Yet Blythe is as disarming as dangerous. A poet who makes us feel as if we have known them a long time, as if we have been waiting to hear from them, waiting for this book, while telling us the things we have suspected and feared about our condition. In every poem, there is the chance you will be caught unprepared."
"Right from the first poem, Blythe pulls you down the rabbit hole of desire. Exquisitely crafted, hauntingly wry, Twoism is a heart-wrenching koan. It's a find!"
“Ali Blythe’s Twoism will lull and surprise with musicality and insight, and is a delight to read that will fill those seemingly empty moments after reading with echoing thoughts of what was, what is and what might have been.”
<i>Arc Poetry Magazine</i>
"Blythe"s stark, deft poems build a spectacular debut."
<i>Winnipeg Free Press</i>
"Ali Blythe has created Twoism out of muscle and mirrors, shadow and light, throwing words as though they are knives in a circus act; risky, but with steady aim, each word lands sharp and close to the skin. Blythe drops us into new sites at midnight, into new paradigms, into spare, perfect poems of love and plain want, of watching skies and old clocks, unbalancing the reader while righting the meaning of two."