AnthemBook - 1999
Physical and fiercely lyric, Helen Humphreys' Anthem is a litany of want. A song of poverty and of desire, of the reach forward and the relentless backward glance. With stark images and subtle, tensile strength, her poems touch that rare interval between presence and absence, echo and answer, between wall and window and sky-that gap in which we live, the space words make.
SHORTLISTED for the 2000 Pat Lowther Award for best book of poetry by a woman published in 1999. WINNER of the 2000 Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry.
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What are the things that make us / feel like who we are? Voices / in a room. A place to come from . . .
Like those guys. / Like they say on TV. Emotionally reversed. / Reserved, I said. Shut up, / she said. You know what I mean.
Weight in the same place, always, and now / a creaky floor by the window. Our / real ghosts, these buildings we have taught / to remember us. The clank of our machines, / our hearts.
A kiss is never simple, that’s the point. / Lie down. The flat black back of night / above us, roof, thick wires of darkness / coiled in the room. It’s always been this easy / and this hard to love.
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