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Launchpad: the broken boat, by Daniela Elza

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching the broken boat, by Daniela Elza, described by Miranda Pearson as "both lament and praise for the ending of a marriage. The poems, fractured and musical on the page, are at once stark and complex, surreal and familiar. There is a vertiginous sense of unsteady balance, of climbing, rung to rung. And yet, a delicate strength is here—a learning how to move through grief.”


The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

This book is all about asking questions to stay afloat amidst things that are dead or dying; the loss of meaning in the unraveling of a marriage and other eros/ions of our world. In an elevator the poems will press your buttons. These poems take the stairs.

Describe your ideal reader.
One that delights in words and how reality sticks to them. One that uses the rhythms of condensed thought to sweeten their morning coffee. This reader will drive from Abbotsford to be the first to buy a copy of the broken boat.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with?

I reach into the honey pot of different poetics and invite them to hold hands inside my poems. I lean into the poet-philosophers and phenomenologists. Names that come to mind right away are Rainer Maria Rilke, Wisława Szymborska, Anne Michaels, Rumi, Jorge Luis Borges, Aislinn Hunter, Jan Zwicky, Dionne Brand, as well as philosophers like David Abram, and Gaston Bachelard.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book? 

I learned that the body is wiser than the mind, but the mind is a lot louder. In this book, I let them battle it out.

How do we find our footing again?

Sometimes we fight hard to hold on to what’s not good for us. We see that playing out not only in relationships, but in economic and political systems that keep betraying us and our environment. Once you realize that something is dead, that it can only bring more suffering, it’s easier to imagine a new way through the mess. But we need to actively participate. We need to be engaged. Not passively ask the dead-end question: why is this happening to me/us? Intimacy begins with this revelation.

An important part of any book launch are the thank yous. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project. 

I want to thank my children. Their incessant curiosity and wonder remind me what’s worth fighting for.

What are you reading right now or next? 

The Blue Clerk by Dionne Brand.



About the broken boat:

In her fourth book of poetry, Elza deftly builds a raft of questions to stay afloat amidst the breakage of things. The end of a twenty-year marriage mirrors subtler fragmentations in our world. How to survive this loss of meaning, this “wintering through”? The intricacies of light, nature, water, absences glint through grief to astonish and lift the heart into understanding again; transforming and coupling the deeper self with the soulful eros/ions of our world.

May 8, 2020

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