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Our recommendations for Poetry collections.

This list is far from exhaustive, and we suggest visiting your nearest McNally Robinson bookstore to browse our selection of Poetry in person.

The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain

- Kazuo Ishiguro, Bianca Bagnarelli

Hardcover $35.00
Reader Reward Price: $31.50

From the Nobel Prize-winning author of Klara and the Sun and Never Let Me Go comes a gorgeously illustrated volume of lyrics written for the platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated jazz singer Stacey Kent.

Memorably introduced by Ishiguro himself, The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain collects the lyrics of sixteen songs he wrote for world-renowned American singer Stacey Kent, which were set to music by her partner, Jim Tomlinson. An exquisite coming together of the literary and musical worlds, the lyrics are infused with a sense of yearning, melancholy, love, and the romance of travel and liminal spaces.

Further exploring the notion of collaboration and interpretation, the collection is illustrated by the acclaimed Italian artist Bianca Bagnarelli, whose work perfectly captures the atmosphere and sensibility of the songs.

The Old Moon in Her Arms

- Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Trade paperback $24.95
Reader Reward Price: $22.46

A powerful, lyrical collection of essays from the award-winning author of Following the River, exploring the pivotal moments in her life, and how art and nature have shaped her.

Like both memory and the moon, what's written here aims to shed what light it can, bringing it home to now.

How does a woman compose a life? The Old Moon in Her Arms is a hybrid book of fragments, pivotal moments and images in the phases of a woman's life, turning points rendered in Lorri Neilsen Glenn's lyrical prose.

Like the shifting images in a kaleidoscope, these glimpses into the life of an ordinary woman lay bare the ways family, landscape, loss, and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge have forced the author in her later years to examine what really matters. Here, readers bear witness to the making of a daughter, a student, a wife, a friend, a teacher, a mother, a feminist, an award-winning scholar and writer. Neilsen Glenn's artistry weaves personal history, philosophy, pop culture, and contemporary thought to examine moments and people who've inhabited her life. "Over time and circumstance," she says, "haven't we all been various?"

Guiding her exploration are the Cree concept of wahkohtowin, the kinship in all of creation, and the elliptical path of the moon.

This hybrid collection of singular moments celebrates connection, wonder and endless curiosity.

What Fills Your House Like Smoke

- E McGregor

Trade paperback $19.95
Reader Reward Price: $17.96

In these poems, E. McGregor combines the lore of family history with personal memory, vividly parsing patterns of inheritance, particularly through the maternal line.

What Fills Your House Like Smoke begins and ends at the deathbed of the writer's Metis grandmother. In between, McGregor composes an incomplete and wildly imaginative biography of the grandmother, interrogated by family photographs, stories, and the scant paper trail she left behind.

McGregor sifts through the complexities of motherhood, daughterhood, anxiety, intimate relationships and addiction, weaving family history with memory to make sense of what is carried on. Especially affecting are poems about childhood, and the people who disappear from a child's life, and the struggle to live as a societal outsider, finding strength in self-definition and the power of narrative.

As these poems unfold, they move us toward an understanding of maternal inheritance, shifting identities, forgiveness, and finally love.


- Dallas Hunt

Trade paperback $19.95
Reader Reward Price: $17.96

This is a book about grief, death and longing. It's about the gristle that lodges itself deep into one's gums, between incisors and canines. Teeth details not only the symptoms of colonization, but also the foundational and constitutive asymmetries that allow for it to proliferate and reproduce itself. Dallas Hunt grapples with the material realities and imaginaries Indigenous communities face, as well as the pockets of livability that they inhabit just to survive. Still this collection seeks joy in the everyday, in the flourishing of Indigenous Peoples in the elsewhere, in worlds to come. Nestling into the place between love and ruin, Teeth traces the collisions of love undone and being undone by love, where "the hope is to find an ocean nested in shoulders--to reside there when the tidal waves come. and then love names the ruin."

Scientific Marvel

- Chimwemwe Undi

Trade paperback $21.99
Reader Reward Price: $19.79

Marked by rhythmic drive, humour, and surprise, Undi's poems consider what is left out from the history and ongoing realities of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Firmly grounded in the local, the arresting poems in Chimwemwe Undi's debut collection, Scientific Marvel, are preoccupied with Winnipeg in the way a Winnipegger is preoccupied with Winnipeg, the way a poet might be preoccupied with herself: through history and immigration; race and gender; anxieties and observation. Marked by rhythmic drive, humour and surprise, Undi's poems consider what is left out from the history and ongoing realities of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the west. Taking its title from a beauty school in downtown Winnipeg that closed in 2017 after nearly 100 years of operation, Scientific Marvel approaches the prairies from the point of view of a person who is often erased from the prairies' idea of itself. "I mean my country the way / my country means my country / and what else is there to say? / I am bad and brown / and trying. Nothing here / belongs to me or could / or ever will."

This is poetry that touches on challenging topics-from queerness and colonialism to racism, climate rage, and decolonization, while never straying far from specific lived experience, the so-called 'smaller' questions: about self, art, dance parties and pop culture, relationships and love.

Crying Dress

- Cassidy McFadzean

Trade paperback $19.99
Reader Reward Price: $17.99

The poems in Crying Dress, acclaimed poet Cassidy McFadzean's third collection, explore the multiplicity of meaning that arises from fragmentation, rhythm, competing sounds, and ellipsis. Rooted in the tradition of lyric poetry, these strikingly original poems revel in musicality (rhyme, beat, and alliteration) while deploying puns, idiom, and other forms of linguistic play to create a dissonance that challenges the expected coherence of a poem. From the ghosts and gardens of Brooklyn and Sicily to the clanging of garbage chutes in Uno Prii's modernist high rises in Toronto, to quiet moments of intimacy in domestic spaces, and the early days of sobriety and grief, Crying Dress explores the intersections between noise and coherence, the conversational and the associative, the architectural and the ecological, while reaffirming the poet's sonic, vertiginous lyricism and gift for overlooked detail.

The Principle of Rapid Peering

- Sylvia Legris

Trade paperback $25.95
Reader Reward Price: $23.36

Self-seeding wind

is a wind of ever-replenishing breath.

        --from "The Walk, or The Principle of Rapid Peering" 

The title of Sylvia Legris' melopoeic collection The Principle of Rapid Peering comes from a phrase the nineteenth-century ornithologist and field biologist Joseph Grinnell used to describe the feeding behavior of certain birds. Rather than waiting passively for food to approach them, these birds live in a continuous mode of "rapid peering." Legris explores this rich theme of active observation through a spray of poems that together form a kind of almanac or naturalist's notebook in verse. Here is "where nature converges with words," as the poet walks through prairie habitats near her home in Saskatchewan, through lawless chronologies and mellifluous strophes of strobili and solstice. Moths appear frequently, as do birds and plants and larvae, all meticulously observed and documented with an oblique sense of the pandemic marking the seasons. Elements of weather, ornithology, entomology, and anatomy feed her condensed, inflective lines, making the heart bloom and the intellect dance.

A Year of Last Things

- Michael Ondaatje

Hardcover $34.00
Reader Reward Price: $30.60

One of the Globe and Mail's most anticipated books of 2024

With A Year of Last Things, acclaimed novelist Michael Ondaatje returns to poetry, where he began his career over fifty years ago, and what a return it is.

Born in Sri Lanka during the Second World War, Ondaatje was sent as a child to school in London, and later moved to Canada. While he has lived here since, these poems reflect the life of a writer, traveller and watcher of the world - describing himself as a "mongrel," someone born out of diverse cultures. Here, rediscovering the influence of every border crossed, he moves back and forth in time, from a childhood in Sri Lanka to Moliere's chair during his last stage performance, from icons in Bulgarian churches to the California coast and loved Canadian rivers, merging memory with the present, looking back on a life of displacement and discovery, love and loss. At first sight it is a glittering collection of fragments and memories - but small, intricate pieces of a life are precisely what matter most to Ondaatje.  They make an emotional history. As he writes in the opening poem: "Reading the lines he loves / he slips them into a pocket, / wishes to die with his clothes / full of torn free stanzas / and the telephone numbers / of his children in far cities".  Poetry - where language is made to work hardest and burns with a gem-like flame - is what Ondaatje has returned to in this intimate history.

Acutely Life

- Sue Sorensen

Trade paperback $24.95
Reader Reward Price: $22.46

There's a woman somehow veiled in marble who is only forme so I take her out of the Art Institute through a back wayand no one notices: she lives with me now, happier than inthe gallery with the cold white lights, in my home she is seenfor who she is, though the veil cannot be removed, itshardness impenetrable, but now she can be touched.

Acutely Life playfully or sorrowfully interrogates works of art, asking fictional characters their views on grief and generosity. Sue Sorensen's poems try out poses learned from other poems or wander off with dead artists who insist on entering places they don't belong.

These quicksilver poems are life studies, or conversations held with all sorts of unsuitable and suitable companions, written in a style full of echoes and dark humour.

Love & Misadventure 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition

- Lang Leav

Hardcover $33.99
Reader Reward Price: $30.59

An elegant hardcover collector's edition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the bestselling Love & Misadventure. This gorgeous gift book features a special foreword by Lang Leav and highly personal annotations interspersed throughout. Also included are newly colored artworks and a ribbon marker. Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, this updated version of Love & Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through the highly relatable themes of love--from the initial butterflies, through to the soaring heights, and the devastating plunge. And, in the end, the message is one of hope.

The journey from love to heartbreak to finding love again is personal yet universal. Lang Leav's evocative poetry speaks to the soul of anyone who has travelled along this path. Capturing the naivety, excitement, and pure joy of finding that special someone, and the mind-numbing despair when a relationship suddenly comes to an end. Leav has an unnerving ability to see deep inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted modern poetry fans from all over the world.      
Lang Leav is an internationally bestselling poet, novelist and artist. Lang's words of love, loss, and self-empowerment have inspired millions across the globe to seek their own voice through the healing power of poetry. Love & Misadventure was her first poetry collection.

The All + Flesh

- Brandi Bird

Trade paperback $19.99
Reader Reward Price: $17.99

Finalist, 2024 League of Canadian Poets' Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
Finalist, 2024 League of Canadian Poets' Pat Lowther Memorial Award
Finalist, 2024 League of Canadian Poets' Raymond Souster Award
Finalist, 2024 Indigenous Voices Award for Poetry in English

I am made of centuries & carbohydrates
the development of my molars
the hunger the teeth grew
has been with me since childhood
I can't escape the mouths of others

?Brandi Bird's long-anticipated debut poetry collection, The All + Flesh, explores the concepts of health, language, place, and memory that connect its author to their chosen kin, blood relatives, and ancestral lands. By examining kinship in broader contexts, these frank, transcendent poems expose binaries that exist inside those relationships, then inspect and tease them apart in the hope of moving toward decolonial future(s). Bird's work is highly concerned with how outer and inner landscapes move and change within the confines of the English language, particularly the "I" of the self, a tradition of movement that has been lost for many who don't speak their Indigenous languages or live on their homelands. By exploring the landscapes the poet does inhabit, both internally and externally, Bird's poems seek to delve into and reflect their cultural lineages-specifically Saulteaux, Cree, and Métis-and how these transformative identities shape the person they are today.


- Ariel Gordon , Brenda Schmidt

Trade paperback $24.95
Reader Reward Price: $22.46

February 2021 to March 2022 was a period of great reflection for two of Canada's most celebrated poets. Ariel Gordon and Brenda Schmidt wrote collaborative poetry, formatted like a call and response. Ariel intended to write about urban Manitoba, the city and its trees, and Brenda was to write about rural Saskatchewan and birds. Over the course of the year, the matter of place took over and the intentions branched and flew apart. The poets wrote about the natural world and people making their way through it all. They wrote home as they found it, observing climate as it manifested in drought-stressed trees and stunted crops covered in grasshoppers, in wildfires and wildfire smoke hanging over the prairies. Survival, struggle, keen naturalist perception, and endless wit, bring forward the idea of hope, rejuvenation, and the generative power of community.

The Iliad

- Homer, Emily Wilson

Hardcover $53.95
Reader Reward Price: $48.56

When Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey appeared in 2017--revealing the ancient poem in a contemporary idiom that was "fresh, unpretentious and lean" (Madeline Miller, Washington Post)--critics lauded it as "a revelation" (Susan Chira, New York Times) and "a cultural landmark" (Charlotte Higgins, Guardian) that would forever change how Homer is read in English. Now Wilson has returned with an equally revelatory translation of Homer's other great epic--the most revered war poem of all time.

The Iliad roars with the clamor of arms, the bellowing boasts of victors, the fury and grief of loss, and the anguished cries of dying men. It sings, too, of the sublime magnitude of the world--the fierce beauty of nature and the gods' grand schemes beyond the ken of mortals. In Wilson's hands, this thrilling, magical, and often horrifying tale now gallops at a pace befitting its legendary battle scenes, in crisp but resonant language that evokes the poem's deep pathos and reveals palpably real, even "complicated," characters--both human and divine.

The culmination of a decade of intense engagement with antiquity's most surpassingly beautiful and emotionally complex poetry, Wilson's Iliad now gives us a complete Homer for our generation.

After That

- Lorna Crozier

Trade paperback $22.95
Reader Reward Price: $20.66

From Lorna Crozier, the poet that Ursula Le Guin called a "truth teller" and "visionary," comes this new collection of soul-stirring poems that follow the death of a loved one.

After That is a book written from the dark hollow we fall into when we lose those we love. Lorna Crozier's sure poetry finds the words to engage with the grief that comes from the death of her partner, the writer Patrick Lane, whom she'd lived with for forty years, many of them tumultuous. With grace and precision, she illuminates sorrow. The light the poems cast travels far enough to reach anyone who has experienced loss. These pages engage us with many familiar yet magical things--not only paper wasps, but their libraries; not only herons, but their role as aging monks. Crozier takes us through the domestic and natural worlds into the cagey and metaphysical place we call the beyond. Without offering false comfort, the poems turn over our own grief so that we can catch a glimpse of the new life inside us again.

Falling Back in Love with Being Human

- Kai Cheng Thom

Trade paperback $23.00
Reader Reward Price: $20.70


"Required reading for the untamed soul . . . reminded me how to love others and myself."--Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

A transformative collection of intimate and lyrical love letters that offer a path toward compassion, forgiveness, and self-acceptance.

What happens when we imagine loving the people--and the parts of ourselves--that we do not believe are worthy of love?

Kai Cheng Thom grew up a Chinese Canadian transgender girl in a hostile world. As an activist, counselor, conflict mediator, and spiritual healer, she's always pursued the same deeply personal mission: to embrace the revolutionary belief that every human being, no matter how hateful or horrible, is intrinsically sacred.

But then Kai Cheng found herself in a crisis of faith, overwhelmed by the violence with which people treated one another, and barely clinging to the values and dreams she'd built her life around: justice, hope, love, and healing. Rather than succumb to despair and cynicism, she gathered all her rage and grief and took one last leap of faith: she wrote. She wrote letters that were prayers, or maybe poems, or perhaps magic spells. She wrote to the outcasts and runaways she calls her kin. She wrote to flawed but nonetheless lovable men, to people with good intentions who harm their own, to racists and transphobes seemingly beyond saving. What emerged was a blueprint for falling back in love with being human.

This is a selection of our current Poetry titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

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