In four sections, St. Boniface Elegies traces a poet’s relationships with her family and her community through poems about travel, love, illness, work, and the writing life.
In the first section, “Submission,” the Cape Cod poems describe a holiday taken in the midst of a period of grieving; the Irish poems delve into the poet’s relationship to her ancestors; and the Banff poems look at the irony of an injury to the writer’s hand while away at a writing retreat. “Oodena,” set at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, describes a magical place where birth, marriage, death and the imagination converge.
“Winter Archive” questions the role of a poet in today’s urban environment and describes moving through time and a shifting cityscape of poverty, broken families, and broken promises, in the state of emergency that is Winnipeg.
“The News” is a suite of poems about the impact of a devastating medical diagnosis on a marriage, the difficulties and small consolations of living day after day—as we all live—in a fragile, uncertain world.
The final section, “The Reader,” includes a rhythmic Twitter-generated description of Canada’s “poetry wars”; a humorous but loving homage to Al Purdy; three glosas that respond to the writers Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur, and Rainer Maria Rilke.