Finalist, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Award-winning writer Amber Dawn reveals a gutsy lyrical sensibility in her debut poetry collection: a suite of glosa poems written as an homage to and an interaction with queer poets, such as the legendary Gertrude Stein, Christina Rossetti, and Adrienne Rich, as well as contemporaries like Leah Horlick, Rachel Rose, and Trish Salah. (Glosas, a 15th-century Spanish form, typically open with a quatrain from an existing poem by another writer, followed by four stanzas of ten lines each, and usually end with a line repeated from the opening quatrain.)
By doing so, Amber Dawn delves deeper into the themes of trauma, memory, and unblushing sexuality that define her work.
Amber Dawn is the author of the novels Sodom Road Exit (2018) and Sub Rosa (winner of a Lambda Literary Award, 2010), the Vancouver Book Award-winning memoir How Poetry Saved My Life (2013), the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize-nominated poetry collection Where the words end and my body begins (2015). She is also editor of Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire and co-editor of With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn. She teaches creative writing at Douglas College in Vancouver, and also leads several low-barrier community writing classes.
Revel in the way Amber Dawn's hard femme survivor poetics create testimony bridges between queer survivor poets then and now, mapping a cartography you can tuck in your pocket, reminding you of where we've been. -Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, author of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence In Activist Communities and Love Cake
You'll be sweetened, entranced and scared in equal measure by Amber Dawn's glosas. This is a wordsmith at the height of her powers. You'll have to read these again and again, just to be sure the gorgeous is real. -Jane Eaton Hamilton, author of Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes and Hunger
Amber Dawn rebuilds her glosa poems by constructing them on quotations from queer, gender-creative, feminist, and/or survivor writers. Dawn uses repetition as a method of regeneration to revitalize the seemingly strict structures of the glosa form and to transform her poems into something powerful and subversive. -CV2
In this collection, Amber Dawn reveals much about how art can help us rise from the ashes of trauma, whether what we know is addiction, abuse or the cost of being unapologetically queer. -Daily Xtra
In your face, yet tightly, beautifully crafted ... A bravura performance -- an insightful reading for poetry lovers and more. -Library Journal
Fearless, raw, and sassy, Dawn's glosas speak to female survival through all its nasty incarnations -- depression, abuse, subjugation, marginalization. Her poems hit the pavement running and they are loud with truth-telling and raging. -Vancouver Sun
A rich, rewarding set of stories about queer identity, surviving abuse, sex positivity and personal identity. -Autostraddle
Highly political yet non-dogmatic, these poems are a reminder of what really matters: community. Amber Dawn positions herself in the context of a long line of artists, poets, and activists who matter to her. -Plenitude
The natural world may be traditional subject matter and the glosa form may be over six centuries old, but Amber Dawn effectively uses both to enrich the present with the past, reminding us to always remember our roots. -subTerrain
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