The acclaimed author of the memoir, In the Slender Margin, turns her focus back to poetry in this amazing and condensed work of prose poetry.
The poems in this collection reach for something other than truth, the marvelous. Leaves fall out of coat sleeves, Gandhi swims in Burrard Inlet. The poems are like empty coats from which the inhabitants have recently escaped, leaving behind images as clues to their identity. There are leaps between logics within the poems, and it is in these illogical spaces where everything comes together, like the uplift of the conductor’s hand to begin a piece of music where, as Arvo Part put it, the potential of the whole exists.
Quarrels, poetry, Anvil Press, May 2018
The Globe Books 100: Best Canadian non-fiction 2014
A journey into the land of death and dying seen through the lens of art and the imagination
Part memoir, part meditation on death itself, In the Slender Margin is an exploration of death from an “insider’s” point of view. Using the threads of her brother’s early death and her twenty years of work at a hospice, Joseph draws on history, religion, philosophy, literature, personal anecdote, mythology, poetry and pop culture to discern the unknowable and to illuminate her travels through the land of the dying.
Rather than relying solely on narrative, The Slender Margin gains momentum from a build-up of thematic resonances. Joseph writes toward thinking about death and in the process finds the brother she lost as a young girl. This book provides no easy answers, but invites the reader to contemplate the human need for meaning in the face of death.
Replete with literary allusions and references from Joan Didion and Susan Sontag to D.H. Lawrence and Voltaire among many other literary voices, the result is an absorbing and inspired consideration of how we die and how, in the end, we carry on.
In the Slender Margin, memoir, HarperCollins, 2015
Vintage 2000. League of Canadian Poets
Contemporary Northwest Poets. 2006. David Biespiel, editor.
The Poets Guide to Birds. 2008. Judith Kitchen & Ted Kooser, editors.
Rocksalt: Anthology of B.C. Poets. 2008 Mona Fertig & Harold Rhenisch
Twelve Breaths a Minute. 2011 Lee Gutkind, editor. Runner up Creative Nonfiction essay award.
Force Field. Susan Musgrave, editor: 75 women poets of British Columbia. 2012
Poems from Planet Earth. Yvonne Bloomer, editor. 2012
111 West Coast Literary Portraits. Mona Fertig, editor. 2012
Untying the Apron. Lorri Neilsen Glenn, editor. 2013
Cascadia: The Life and Breath of the World. Frank Stewart and Trevor Carolan editors. 2013
Who Comes, Jean-Paul? Firescreen Press. 2001 (edited by Patrick Lane)
Moving Small Stones. Frog Hollow Press. 2003
The Hoodoo You Do So Well. 2007. Littlefishcart Press.