About this Item
J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing
Michelle Elrick won the 2011 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer.
In the title poem of her debut collection of poetry, To Speak, Michelle Elrick writes:
“My silence seems inevitable//as if I cannot afford to give anything away.//As if I have given it all already, given it to you.”
It is the desire to articulate this “silence” that is the heart of To Speak. When the failure of a love affair renders everything irrevocably strange, unutterable, the poet begins a quest in search of the means to be able to “speak” again. It is this journey that the reader is invited to become a part of, traveling by poem on a road trip that will take them both through miles and miles of familiar and uncharted terrain.
To Speak begins with “bread”: “I grind my grandmother’s bones to a powder//mix a little water from the blue glaciers” and ends with the renewal of spring, and a profound connection with nature, “On the branches, tight knots of new leaf begin their slow unraveling//like the loosening of the tongue around a newly repeated name.”
In between there is a rare elegance at work.
Seduced by the quiet yet forceful voice of the speaker readers will find themselves entranced by what a word can have bottled up inside of it. The beauty and strength of Michelle Elrick’s poetry is that it resonates with simplicity and moth-like grace even when it is asking for the world. So when she asks, “Are you a kiln? //Are you a can of Krylon?” it does seem entirely possible.
Michelle Elrick is a poet and fiction writer from B.C. and Manitoba. Her work has appeared in Event, Canadian Literature, Geez and the Emerge anthology. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and has read at festivals and events in Vancouver, Winnipeg, London and Belfast. She is currently writing the final draft of her novel Dust House, and spends her free time designing hats, walking outdoors, hosting dinner parties and playing the banjo.
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