By: Anne Michaels
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Prior to her stunning first novel, Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels had already won awards and critical acclaim for two books of poetry: The Weight of Oranges (1986), which won the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas, and Miner’s Pond (1991), which received the Canadian Authors Association Award and was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award. Although they were published separately, these two books, along with Skin Divers, a collection of Michaels’s newest work, were written as companion volumes.
Poems brings all three books together for the first time, creating for American readers a wonderful introduction to Anne Michaels’s poetry. Meditative and insightful, powerful and heart-moving, these are poems that, as Michael Ondaatje has written, “go way beyond games or fashion or politics . . . They represent the human being entire.”
I read her latest poetry collection, All We Saw (review) earlier this year and really enjoyed it so I decided to check out her earlier poetry. I’m glad they released it as a collected volume, which is quite handy.
Reading this collection was really interesting. Definitely felt different than her latest collection, a lot of the poems were longer (All We Saw I found had more shorter poetry, in reflection of the themes and experiences she was writing about) and they all told a story–mostly biographical–in lyrical language. i loved some of the descriptors she used, I never thought of using them in such a way but they were absolutely wonderful in her writings. Stories about her family, her experiences, about love…I can’t say it lingered long after I read it compared to other poetry collections but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless and highly recommend checking out her poetry if you’re looking for more Canadian poets to read.