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Poetry Canadian

Skin Divers


by (author) Anne Michaels

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Sep 2007
Canadian, Women Authors, Places
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price

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Skin Divers is award-winning writer Anne Michaels’ dazzling third book of poems. These poems develop the concern with love, transience, and memory evident in her earlier work, and at the same time signal a definitive turning point towards a new thematic landscape.

Michaels is a writer whose thoughts take shape in sensuous images, verbal music, and sinuous lines. Her short lyrics, like the longer monologues based on the lives of historical figures, explore an inner world fluid with feeling and memory. They reveal complex climates of emotion and sentiment, yet remain unsparing and unsentimental. As in the best poetry of our time, the luminous calm at the heart of her vision also registers the pressure of the darkness in our lives that has been momentarily withstood.

These powerful poems, tense with desire and “divided longings,” remind us that Anne Michaels is among the most original poets of her generation.

About the author

Anne Michaels is a writer based in Toronto. Her novel, Fugitive Pieces, won the Trillium Prize and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award in Canada, the Orange Prize and the Guardian Fiction Award in the UK, and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction in the US. Her two poetry collections, The Weight of Oranges and Miner's Pond, have received high acclaim.

Anne Michaels' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Anne Michaels’ third collection of poetry continues the work of her groundbreaking 1996 novel, Fugitive Pieces. Readers who know Michaels through her novel alone will recognize the striking lyricism of Skin Divers. A profound interest in language—she excavates words for sounds and meaning—and powerful images are evident in her prose and poetry alike. Michaels’ work is marked by intense engagement with her various subjects and a belief in the redemptive quality of language to transform—even radically alter—experience.… Skin Divers celebrates love’s myriad forms.”
—Quill & Quire

Skin Divers seeks to explore the overwhelming experiences for which we have no words, to readdress the failure of language to convey emotion and idea.… [Michaels] is capable of tremendous lyrical precision and writes with a freshness of image and idea that is rarely matched in contemporary writing.”
The Scotsman

Skin Divers, a series of mediations on the intensity of love, has an intimacy at times so tender it hurts.”
The Times (U.K.)

“Stunning.… Michaels is a poet of light and rain, the body and the mind, and she brings something new to every facet of life she ponders.”

“Couples profound intellect with deeply felt emotion.… A volume of intensely felt emotional truth, strengthened by intellectual rigor and haunting imagery.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Where will a reader find the weather and texture of the inner life given such vivid, exact articulation? Reading Skin Divers, you know that its language has been a listening for a very long time; that the voice is, even as it speaks across the page, mostly an ear, and the words distillates of silence. Each searching metaphor moves with a delicate, feline fierceness, so that insights arrive with heart-stopping conviction. This is a book to be grateful for, to read, and be read by, slowly.”
–Don McKay

“Anne Michaels’ poems are like imagined lakes on which she navigates with a fluid and moving logic. These lyrical narratives float on their own transparent surfaces with precision, tenderness, liquidity.”
–Lucie Brock-Broido, author of The Master Letters and A Hunger

“Evocative, full, deeply felt, the long, rangy narratives snake through the book, weaving a large tapestry so very like a true life—that is, she makes her story feel as if it's ours. The poems are relentless in their need to dig, to unearth the truth behind memory.”
–Dan Halpern, author of Something Shining

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