Finalist – 2014 Governor General’s Award for English-language poetry.
In Sadiqa de Meijer’s Leaving Howe Island, poem after poem sings with an accuracy and freshness, a power and a delicacy, which leaves one breathless. In the long opening sequence, “Great Aunt Unmarried,” winner of the 2012 CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize, the poet takes us on a wistful, astute journey into the past. Musings on family, childhood and belonging unfold in a series of snapshots that astonish us with their clarity and mystery, their tranformative power.
This is sensual, intimate writing in which the observations of a mother, caught up in daily chores, are hanuted by her own recollections and longings. From Friesian living rooms to the sidewalks of Toronto’s Little India, these are poems that explore the increasingly complex world of the contemporary psyche.
What does it mean to be a neighbour, to experience love, to anticipate global warming while raising a child?
De Meijer’s answers are anecdotal, ekphrasic, incantatory, unsettling and funny, but always profoundly attentive to craft. From “the quiet theatre of our lives” Sadiqa de Meijer’s debut collection is one of stunning eloquence.
“Both tender and funny, the poems fulfill Octavio Paz’s demand of poetry – they ‘resurrect presences’.” – CBC Poetry Prize 2012 Jury (Julie Bruck, Dennis Lee and Patrick Lane)
“A voice of authority and grace.” – Michael Crummey