BC Poetry 2018: "Our Familiar Hunger" by Laisha Rosnau (Nightwood Editions)

After Winter

I push windows against frames until they give
up, spit out splinters of paint on the sills
when they are finally open, the wind welcome
to round its great mouth, blow until the shards
confetti the floor.

I’ll leave the floors unswept, close the curtains,
white and billowed, as round as a bride
at her shotgun wedding. You teach me
colloquialisms while oligarchs hold revolvers
to our country’s temples until we spread

our legs like drapery and lie quietly as sounds
enter the room—car horns on the street below,
an errant rooster, always crowing, a shop radio
bleating out the news of the day, laughter
skipping across a playground like a record
from the archives.

I’ve heard the woman from the next farm
gave birth to a girl, premature, her skin furred
like a small animal. Perhaps the baby is mutant
because she opened her eyes yesterday
for the first time and cried “Smother the sky!”
before she started to howl. I’ve heard the baby
is struggling to suckle.


Laisha Rosnau is the author of four collections of poetry and the best-selling novel, The Sudden Weight of Snow (McClelland & Stewart, 2002). Her most recent book of poetry, Our Familiar Hunger, will be released by Nightwood Editions in April 2018. Rosnau’s work has been published across Canada, in the US, UK, and Australia. Its has been nominated for several awards, including the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award, three times for the CBC Poetry Prize, the Pat Lowther Award, the Raymond Souster Award, the Pacific Poetry Prize, and has won the Blue Heron Poetry Prize and the Acorn-Plantos Poetry Award. She teaches in UBC Okanagan’s Creative Studies Department. Rosnau lives in Coldstream, BC, where she and her family are resident caretakers of Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary.


Rosnau tests and confirms the will, struggle and fortitude of generations of women and confronts how their knowledges interact, inform and transform as they are passed down. Our Familiar Hunger rallies memories of a reclaimed history with the fractured reality of trickle-down inheritance, exploring sexuality and inequality against the backdrops of historical and contemporary conflict zones, global waves of immigration and expressions of greed and hunger. The profound, the political and the personal are ablaze as Rosnau reveals the myriad ways epigenetic grief interferes or interprets our best attempts, igniting her most powerful collection of poetry to date.


Arriving right now! April 2018.



April 19th, 7 PM, Book launch & reading, Paper Hound Books, 344 West Pender, Vancouver
April 24th, 7 PM, Book launch party, Caetani Cultural Centre, 3401 Pleasant Valley Road, Vernon
May 1st, 7 PM, Reading, Milk Crate Records, 527 Lawrence Avenue, Kelowna
May 4th, 6-8 PM, Wine-o-Clock, Wine & Poetry Pairings, Metrovino Wines, 722 11 Ave SW, Calgary
May 9th, 7 PM Reading, McNally Robinson Books, 3130 8th St, Saskatoon


From the Harbour Publishing website or at your local bookstore. $18.95.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

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