Poems that journey through a tapestry of myths, archetypes and fables; of histories invented and revisited.
Kate Cayley's is a mind both studious and curious, deeply attuned to the question “what if?” What if Nick Drake and Emily Dickinson met in the afterlife? What if a respected physician suddenly shrank to the size of a pea? What if the blind twins in a Victorian photograph could speak to us? What if we found another Earth orbiting another sun?
Cayley draws on her experience as a playwright to create vividly engaging voices and characters ranging from the famous to the infamous to the all-but-anonymous. With exquisite pacing and striking imagery she draws us into the gaps in history, invites us to survey its wonders, both real and imaginary.
Be the horse. Be patient and simple, blind
to anything beyond this moment, step out
on trembling legs toward the lake, knowing that
there is something behind this, something
that sustains, propels, repeats.
(from “The White Horse Divers, Lake Ontario, 1908")
About the author
Kate Cayley is a poet, playwright, and fiction writer living in Toronto. She is the author of one previous poetry collection (When This World Comes to an End, Brick Books), a young adult novel (The Hangman in the Mirror, Annick Press), and a short story collection (How You Were Born, Pedlar Press), which won the 2015 Trillium Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor-General's Award. She has been a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto since 2009, and has written two plays produced by Tarragon, After Akhmatova and The Bakelite Masterpiece.
"Kate Cayley's warm and inquisitive debut is full of ... irresistible thought experiments" — Jared Bland, The Globe and Mail
"A Toronto theatre artistic director, Cayley follows the example of British writers W.H. Auden and Angela Carter in updating historical speakers to give them a jarring, new context and diction." — George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
"Cayley's gift for narrative is brilliant at its best, the kind of writing that delivers dazzling wonder and piercing knowledge at once, like an annunciation." — Marianne Mays, Herizons