The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane is a collection of thirty-five of her best poems, selected with an introduction by Jeanette Lynes. An environmentalist, feminist, and peace activist, M. Travis Lane is known for witty and meticulously crafted poems that explore the elusive nature of “home” in both historical and present contexts and reflect on the identity of the woman poet and what it means to be a writer. Lane’s poems exhibit impressive range and variety—long poems, short lyrics, serial poems, poems inspired by visual art—and are richly attentive to the landscapes, both urban and wild, of her New Brunswick home. They voice a sense of urgency with respect to ecological crises and war; her poetic attention fixes unwaveringly on the smallest pebble on the coast of Fundy but is equally attuned to global patterns of destructive domination.
In her introduction “As Opportunity for Grace, This Life May Serve”, editor Jeanette Lynes discusses how Lane’s poetry integrates an ecopoetic vision with explorations of the artist’s task of mapping her world. Lane’s afterword reinforces her sense of the poet’s project as a form of mystical play, a search for patterns in the “unified disunities” of all things.
About the Author
M. Travis Lane is Honorary President of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick and a Life Member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has published eleven books of poetry (including the forthcoming The Safety Net) and received numerous awards, including the Bliss Carman Poetry Prize, the Atlantic Poetry Prize, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in English Language Literary Arts.
Jeanette Lynes is an associate professor of English at St. Francis Xavier University and co-editor of The Antigonish Review. She is the author of three collections of poetry; her fourth poetry book and a novel are forthcoming in 2008.
Read an Excerpt
You Want Your Truths Told of You by E. Travis Lane
You want your truths told of you—
those wavery lines!
Each pencil mark's a fiddlehead
unfolding to an island of wild fern,
of alders, grass, of willow trees,
of sharp dams in the silty sand
where a barefoot girl stands
to watch a cattle barge
rock, like a cradle in the wind.
She can not tell them where she stands,
her nude toes turning blue as clams
in the murky water where it chafes
the green facts into islands—
shoals, reefs, whirlpools, naked trees
scoured by the ice.
Her plain nouns bell their inner folds
like a coiled spring uncoiling
or like eggs
that tremble in her hand and beat
their shells with razor bills and spread
Their shadows cast on the millstream float
on spinning water for all time,
never entirely truthful.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents for
The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane, selected with an introduction by Jeanette Lynes
Foreword | Neil Besner
Introduction | Jeanette Lynes
The Song of Lot’s Wife
A Stone from Fundy
Well, Viewed by the God
Red Earth [excerpt from “Divinations,” Book Two]
Walking Under the Nebulae
The Weight of the Real
The House as Sculpture as Chapel as Priest
Six Poems on a Sculpture by Ülker Özerdem
For the Cenotaph, November 11, 1983
The Gift from the Bad Fairy
The Horn That Is So Difficult to Play
You Want Your Truths Told of You
About the Size of It
There Are Real Ants in the Metro
Strive for a Deep Stillness
Afterword: Those Mysteries of Which We Cannot Plainly Speak | M. Travis Lane