The capacity of the world to signal and illuminate, restore and repair, fuels the poems in Every Shameless Ray. Emotionally acute, intellectually intriguing, and playful in form, these poems rely upon the unreliable, as when a tipped-over kayaker rides a river's current upside-down and discovers a channel to another world. Misunderstanding a child's word leads to a glimpse of longed-for innocence, or when assuming love will not be found signals, in the movement of a man's hands, a love that will last for years when he eases out the under-row of the black seeds of a papaya. Like the shock of seeing a Matisse painting, underestimated by the artist as merely decorative, these encounters "tear the fabric of the world."
In poems of tenderness and ruthless truth, Every Shameless Ray disrupts personal terror, familial myth, art historical bias, and political madness, offering some unlikely means for living in our unlikely times.
Born in Winnipeg and raised in Ontario, France, and Germany, Leslie Timmins discovered her love of visual art and architecture early in life, later finding a similar appeal in the raw beauty of wilderness. Activism, and a decades-long meditation practice, provide other engines that fire up her award-winning poetry. Her poems have appeared in fine magazines in Canada and the U.S., in the anthologies Global Poetry (2011), A Verse Map of Vancouver (2009), Sustenance (2017), and in her chapbook The Limits of Windows (2015). She reviews books for Event magazine and has written articles and essays for Canadian Living and The Globe and Mail, among other publications. She lives in Vancouver with her husband.
"Whether traversing the fraught terrain of cancer or depicting the ecstatic in Matisse's canvasses, Leslie Timmins explores the nature of perception, its shifts and shadows, in finely wrought, beautifully crafted poems. This collection shimmers with a radiant engagement with life."
--Fiona Tinwei Lam, author of Intimate Distances, Enter the Chrysanthemum, and The Bright Well
"If half the pleasure of Leslie Timmins' poetry comes from discovering surprising new perspectives, as in "The field speaks of its persistence," much of the rest comes from our sense of her tactile control of texture and language as she ranges from the endearingly domestic through the joyfully sensual to encounters with disease. Not only in her concluding Matisse sequence, but throughout the book, the poet displays a vibrant, painterly awareness of the colours and shapes of the real world that helps us to re-envision the familiar. Hers is an imagination we can trust."
--Christopher Levenson, author of A tattered coat upon a stick and Night Vision
"Leslie Timmins' Every Shameless Ray unfolds in three linked movements: "The Calling," "Echo," and "A Fine Disorder." The culminating sequence is a tour de force of ekphrastic reflection on the art and life of Henri Matisse that unifies the various themes of brokenness and regeneration in the volume as a whole. Though her poetic meditation on Matisse's windows, Timmins opens readers to the French artist's multi-dimensional planes of space and colour, landing us in the place of the open heart, a "First Supper" of sacramental feminine presence. Enter the world of these poems and be shamelessly transformed."
--Susan McCaslin, author of Into the Open: Poems New and Selected
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