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Like the novella in fiction, the long poem is an oft-neglected form. Too long for publication in most literary journals and anthologies, too short to merit book-length publication, the long poem occupies a lonely space in literature. M. Travis Lane is a master of the form, in which her considerable poetic skills reach their apex. There are few that match her brilliance. This volume collects all of her long works — most of them now out of print — from a five-decade commitment to the art.
M. Travis Lane has long flown under the radar of Can Lit, crafting luminous poems and sharp literary criticism — much of it published in the Fiddlehead, one of Canada's premier literary journals — but in recent years her work has been drawing the attention it deserves. Evidence of this recognition is her 2015 Governor General's Award nomination for Crossover, a collection the still-vital poet published at the age of 81. Her poetry is modernist, dense, and highly allusive, drawing adeptly on classical and biblical sources, imbued with a feminist and ecocritical perspective. Her musical lines, vivid metaphors, and phenomenological acumen launch her into the company of such poetic luminaries as Don McKay, Jan Zwicky, and Tim Lilburn. In the long poetic form, these qualities reach their highest expression. This volume, an exquisite collection that brings together her long poems for the first time, constitutes an important addition to the canon of Canadian literature and to the canon of feminist literature in North America.- 20160303