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Poetry Canadian

The Weight of Oranges/Miner's Pond


by (author) Anne Michaels

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Apr 1997
Canadian, Places, Women Authors
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 1997
    List Price

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Prior to her stunning début novel, Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels had already won prizes and acclaim for her two poetry collections. The Weight of Oranges and Miners Pond are now brought back into print in this one-volume collector’s edition.

Published in 1986, The Weight of Oranges created a sensation, garnering the kind of praise rarely accorded a first book of poems. It went on to win the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas. Miners Pond appeared in 1991 and received the Canadian Authors Association Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the Trillium Award.

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

Excerpt: The Weight of Oranges/Miner's Pond: Poems (by (author) Anne Michaels)


“The face of the city changes more quickly, alas! than the mortal heart.”
- Charles Baudelaire

So much of the city
is our bodies. Places in us
old light still slants through to.
Places that no longer exist but are full of feeling,
like phantom limbs.

Even the city carries ruins in its heart.
Longs to be touched in places
only it remembers.

Through the yellow hooves
of the ginkgo, parchment light;
in that apartment where I first
touched your shoulders under your sweater,
that October afternoon you left keys
in the fridge, milk on the table.
The yard — our moonlight motel —
where we slept summer’s hottest nights,
on grass so cold it felt wet.
Behind us, freight trains crossed the city,
a steel banner, a noisy wall.
Now the hollow diad
floats behind glass
in office towers also haunted
by our voices.

Few buildings, few lives
are built so well
even their ruins are beautiful.
But we loved the abandoned distillery:
stone floors cracking under empty vats,
wooden floors half rotted into dirt,
stairs leading nowhere, high rooms
run through with swords of dusty light.
A place the rain still loved, its silver paint
on rusted things that had stopped moving it seemed, for us.
Closed rooms open only to weather,
pungent with soot and molasses,
scent-stung. A place
where everything too big to take apart
had been left behind.

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