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Jane Munro is the author of five previous books of poetry, most recently Active Pass (2010) and Point No Point (2006). Her work has received the Bliss Carman Poetry Award, the Macmillan Prize for Poetry and been nominated for the Pat Lowther Award. She is a member of Yoko’s Dogs (Jan Conn, Mary di Michele, Susan Gillis, Jane Munro), a poetry collective whose first book Whisk was published in 2013. After living for twenty years on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, she has now returned to Vancouver.

Blue Sonoma

Brick Books
2015 Winner
Canada

Judges’ Citation

Somewhere between the directness and clarity of haiku and Yeats’s ‘An aged man is but a paltry thing’ moves Jane Munro’s hauntingly candid explorations of the hard truths of growing old.

Somewhere between the directness and clarity of haiku and Yeats’s ‘An aged man is but a paltry thing’ moves Jane Munro’s hauntingly candid explorations of the hard truths of growing old. But Blue Sonoma unflinching as its poems are in their wrestling with a partner’s Alzheimer’s, with memory, death, and dying, and with the inexorable advance of time, achieves an engaging liveliness as a result of the poet’s earthy voice, colloquial wit, and acute descriptive powers. For Munro, language, travel, and art are the ‘props/in a little, local theatre of light’, and this theatre’s relationship to other worlds, other possible states of consciousness, repeatedly leavens Blue Sonoma’s painful content with wisdom and delicacy. In primarily short lines of impressive transparency, Munro’s writing, replete with natural images of Canada’s west coast, celebrates, even as it confronts with blunt honesty, the sensuous passage through the years towards whatever transition must follow. ‘And us, were we substance or reflection?’ The question hovers over this gathering of deeply meditative and viscerally felt poems and leads us, with gentleness but no apology, into the realm of riveting and ultimate contemplation.