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Poetry Canadian

When Earth Leaps Up

by (author) Anne Szumigalski

edited by Mark Abley

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Jun 2006
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2006
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2006
    List Price

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“?one of Canada's major poets. The audacity — the courage — of her imagination teaches us, gives us our better selves.” — Tim Lilburn

This posthumous collection will be a delightful surprise for readers who thought they had heard the last of Anne Szumigalski's nimble, sideslipping, otherworldly voice. Szumigalski's poetic universe is as beguiling and unpredictable as dreams and myth, and like them, her universe can be enchanting, visually lush, and suddenly dangerous.


Untitled (?glory to the queen??)


glory to the queen whoever she is
wherever she finds herself as she moves
up and down round and round
all the spaces that are hers


once she was a young thing and jumped
easily over any fence any line
now she's an old woman thick and earthy


by tomorrow she hopes to leap
out of this skin and into a new one
a skin like petals like leaves


The poems deal with ultimate questions. What is time” What is memory” Is it invented or real” Is death a kind of dream” Is life” Is God a man, a woman, or a Sacred Reptile” The imaginative leaps in When Earth Leaps Up are as easy as looking up at the prairie sky, as simple as turning your head to the side to catch a glimpse of an idea as it skips past you in the form of an interesting stranger, a passing cloud, the face of a loved one, long dead.


Szumigalski immigrated to Canada from England in 1951, and lived in Saskatoon from 1956 until her death in 1999. The author of 15 books, she received the Governor General's Award for poetry in 1995 for Voice, a collaboration with the visual artist Marie Elyse St. George.


Mark Abley is the editor or author of 10 books, including the internationally acclaimed Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages. Abley is the literary executor for Anne Szumigalski.


About the authors

Anne Szumigalski's profile page

Mark Abley was born in Leamington Spa, England, in 1955. From age six to twenty he lived in Lethbridge and Saskatoon. After winning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan, he went to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and received his Master of Arts degree in English Language and Literature. He and his wife live in Montreal.

For the past seven years, Mark Abley has been a contributing editor to Macleans's and a regular writer for Saturday Night, CBC Radio's "Ideas" and The Times Literary Supplement. He has also written for the Globe and Mail, Canadian Literature, The Listener, and the New Statesman.

Mark Abley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"There's a harmonious quality to the threads and strands of Szumigalski's poetry ... it's good to have this gathering of last words from her."--Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star

"In this Age of Glib, When Earth Leaps Up is a tonic. There are no slick-quick fixes in Szumigalski's poetry. What you'll find, instead, is a reaching-out for what we used to call “wisdom” — a tactile word-touching of abstractions that manage to get deeply at the strangeness and complexity of our lives. Szumigalski added something new to Canadian poetry, and this book is as good a place as any to find out what it was." “Carmine Starnino, The Globe and Mail

" ... The grand old woman of Saskatchewan letters and bristling conscience of the writing breed ... Anne Szumigalski cultivated a world in which the so-called miraculous was not that big a deal ... The poems are the miracles."--Bill Robertson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix


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