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The Swailing by Patrick James Errington

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Here the long edge / of town Low / winter fog / … My breath / my offering We are / our bodies burning

Firmly rooted in fire-haunted landscapes that are at once psychological, emotional, and fiercely real, Patrick Errington’s first collection traces the brittle boundaries between presence and absence, keeping and killing, cruelty and tenderness. In these poems human voices whisper through the natural world - a hand turns on a lamp to extinguish the stars; stones outline a sleeping form; a black eye is a storm cloud. Errington stokes vivid images, formal grace, and subtle humour into the flickers of life that hold fast against unforgiving terrain. Here language functions like a controlled burn, one that could at any moment preserve, perfect, or reduce to ash.

Urgent, resonant to the bone, the swailing burns to the ember-edge of grief, memory, and control to find the wildness, wilderness, and wonder that remain.

McGill Queens University Press



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