Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Sandra Ridley offers a breathtaking, harrowing immersion in cruelty behind different veils: the medieval hunt, ecological collapse, and intimate partner violence.
Sparked by a haunting chance encounter with a fox, and told in six chapters of varying form, Vixen is as visceral as it is mysterious, sensuous as it is terrifying.
"Thicket" introduces us to stalking being akin to hunting; the similar threat of terror and—too often—a violent end. "Twitchcraft" locates the hunt in the home, the wild in the domestic, while "Season of the Haunt" explores the unrelenting nature of hunting. "Stricken" asks common questions that often implicitly justify such violence: Is the harassment ‘bad enough’ to allow us to label it criminal? Has all control been taken? Is the fear reasonable?
Vixen propels us to examine the nature of empathy, what it means to be a compassionate witness, and what happens when brutality is so ever-present that we become numb. This is a beautiful, difficult, wild tapestry of defiance and survival.
About the author
Sandra Ridley is the author of four books of poetry: Fallout; Post-Apothecary; The Counting House; and Silvija, a finalist for the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize. She has won the bpNichol Chapbook Award, Saskatchewan Book Award for Publishing, the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, and the Toronto International Festival of Authors’ Battle of the Bards. Additionally, she has been a finalist for the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, the Ottawa Book Award, the Archibald Lampman Award, the ReLit Award for Poetry, and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. She has also been nominated for the Ontario Arts Council’s KM Hunter Artist Award for Mid-Career Writer and for the Ottawa Arts Council’s Mid-Career Artist Award. Ridley has taught poetry at Sage Hill Writing, Carleton University, and has had the honour of being a mentor with Ottawa’s Supportive Housing and Mental Health Services “Footprints to Recovery” program for people living with mental illness. An audio performance of her chapbook “Lift” was presented on CBC’s Sound Exchange. Her work has been anthologized and translated into German and French. Sandra grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and lives in Ottawa.