Melanie Siebert’s stunning debut collection travels remote northern rivers, as well as two of Canada’s most threatened rivers, the Athabasca and the North Saskatchewan. These rivers push the poems into a contemplation of loss and into the terrain of Alexander Mackenzie’s dreams, a busker’s broken-down street riffs, and the borderland wanderings of a grandmother whose absence is felt as a presence. The poems’ currents are turbulent, braided, submerged. Narrative streams appear like tributaries glimpsed through brush, and then veer into unexpected territories, where boundaries blur – between the self and the other, between the living and the dead, between the human and the wild – and loss carries with it both music and silence. In this virtuoso collection, Melanie Siebert has transformed language into that rarest thing, a singular poetic vision.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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animals aspen Athabasca bear’s bearing bellies birds blown boat bones bottles boulders bowl breath buck burn BUSKER Calgary canoe caribou Chewing Chipewyan choir Coat creek dark Deadhead DEEPWATER VEE deer cross ditch downstream dream drink edge ESKER eyes ﬁrst ﬂames ﬂaps ﬂoating ﬂoor ﬂower ﬂy Fort Chipewyan ground groundwater gunwales hair hands haul head hills hooves horizon Horsechild Interior Plains Inuit knees Lake land legs Letter to Kitty lichen lick lift light lips loose Mackenzie Mackenzie’s Map Unrolled Mary PeeMee meat mouth move muscle muskeg Never Written night North Sask northwest pack piano place of grass porewater position fix pounds pulled river rope Saskatchewan Saskatoon shoulder skidding sleep smell smoke snow split spruce stones sway sweat swells T/te/on takes tar sands teeth thick tongue tracks trails truck twitchy Unnamed Camp valley walk waves weather what’s wind window wings winter wrist