Atmospherically light and stylistically expansive Ð poems that regard our givens as a gift.
Don McKay's description of The Pearl King and Other Poems, Catherine Greenwood's wonderful first book, also apply to The Lost Letters: "With discerning wit and a large range of styles and voices, she holds up each subject for contemplation as though it were a pearl. . . ."
At the centre of The Lost Letters is a sequence of radically diverse poems based on the story of Heloise and Abelard, truly lovers in a dangerous time, the twelfth century. The raw material is heavy, tension between flesh and spirit being the serious issue carried forward from the twelfth century into the twenty-first. But Greenwood's deft and delicate handling of scenarios of love requited but balked becomes a perceptive reading -- extraordinarily inventive and constantly surprising Ð of contemporary secular society.
The Lost Letters creates a world of wonder tinged with sadness on behalf of so much that goes unnoticed, whether it's a bin of severed sows' ears, a lizard tethered by its tail who severs it by self-amputation, or a down-and-out old schoolmate.
Catherine Greenwood's poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies; her first book, The Pearl King and Others (Brick Books, 2004), was a Kiriyama Prize notable book. She works for British Columbia's Ministry of Justice in Victoria, where she lives with her husband, the writer Steve Noyes.
"Although Greenwood delights readers with her well-read nods to literary giants, her innovative work clearly demonstrates her authentic and powerful voice." -- Kelly M. Sylvester, New Pages
"The Lost Letters centres on the tale of Heloise and Abelard, a scandalous twelfth-century love affair ... Greenwood deftly manipulates the centuries of emotion and, at times, the historical projection of romance on these figures." -- Allison LaSorda, The Malahat Review
"The Lost Letters shows Greenwood as above all a supreme chronicler of longings" -- Sydney Lea, Numero Cinq
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