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The Porcupine’s Quill Fall 2018/Winter 2019

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Mrs Romanov
1st edition
By (author): Lori Cayer
9780889844179 Paperback, Sewn English General Trade POETRY / Canadian / General Sep 01, 2018
$16.95 CAD
Active 5.55 x 8.75 x 0.48 in | 230 gr 128 pages Porcupine's Quill
Manitoba Book Awards Lansdowne Prize for Poetry 2020, Short-listed Pat Lowther Memorial Award 2019, Long-listed Raymond Souster Award 2019, Long-listed

Lori Cayer's poetry collection Mrs Romanov reveals the unexpectedly quotidian concerns of Alexandra Feodorovna, the last tsarina of Imperial Russia.

Lori Cayer is the author of three previous poetry collections, including Dopamine Blunder (Tightrope Books, 2016), Attenuations of Force (Frontenac House, 2010) and Stealing Mercury (The Muses' Company, 2004). Her poetry is endlessly informed by her editorial work in scientific research publishing. She lives in Winnipeg.

`A riveting collection, right from the first poem. Cayer's writing is sharply chiseled, resonant. In these highly crafted, taut poems, a complex chapter of Russia's history, the demise of "the old brocaded world order" is explored through the lens of royalty but ultimately, isolation, family, and "love/breathing itself like a tubercular lung". A book of stark, beautiful, striking extremes: iron and lace, old and new regimes, and the dead "underfoot like wet carpet". A tour de force.'

- Jeanette Lynes, Author of Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems

`A compelling exercise in poetic biographical fiction, the series of nearly a hundred poems succeeds in creating a character out of a myth, in carving a human out of a mountain called Empress, while still maintaining a tantalizing distance between reader and subject. Though the porous beauty of this intricately woven narrative of the life of Alexandra Feodorovna occasionally finds itself in danger of being weighed down by the heft of the story Cayer has to tell, she always manages to steer her self-indulgent narrator back into realms of (relative) accessibility. The result is a domestic-epic of refreshingly delicate, sparse proportions.'

- Chelsea Peters, Contemporary Verse 2

`Cayer juxtaposes her characters' richly textured private lives with rising social unrest, political struggle, and ravening gossipmongers. She captures the delicate balance of the Romanovs' Inside and Outside Worlds and the fragility of their highly scrutinized lives through the motif of Fabergé eggs, ``those bejewelled manifestations of us / ... / arrayed on the mantel.'' '

- Heather Olaveson, Canadian Literature

`While history has much to say about Alexandra Feodorovna, her turbulent life and abundant failures, Cayer delivers a compassionate and fully-embodied Alexandra, her voice at once intimate, demanding, petulant and loving. Informed by themes of gender, marriage, motherhood, and power, Mrs Romanov is a generous portrait of a woman both formed by and constrained within the flawed construct of European aristocracy near the end of the Victorian era-a most compelling read.'

- Jody Baltessen, Prairie Fire

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