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Poetry Canadian

Waking in the Tree House


by (author) Michael Lithgow

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2012
Canadian, Places
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2012
    List Price

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The poems in Michael Lithgow's first collection carry us on a stream of sensory impressions towards some heightened awareness. In a voice characterized by curiosity, astonishment, and candour, the poet records what passes through him in settings as various as a derelict rooming house, a hospital room, a junk shop, a Cape Breton farmhouse, the old Jewish Quarter in Cracow, a Montreal bus during morning rush hour. Lithgow's poems gravitate towards darker terrain - not at the expense of humour and irony, but with an energetic interest in the beauty of what time does to things, and a pleasure in language that searches for meaning a little beyond the bounds of the ordinary.

About the author

Michael Lithgow’s first collection of poetry, Waking in the Tree House, was shortlisted for the Quebec Writers Federation First Book Award. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous literary and academic journals and in Best Canadian Poetry (2012). Born in Ottawa, he changed cities frequently in his early years and moved to Vancouver in the mid-1980s, working as an activist journalist in community-based media and as a paralegal, before attending graduate school in Montreal and Ottawa to complete a PhD in Communication Studies. He currently lives in Edmonton with his wife and daughter, and teaches at Athabasca University.

Michael Lithgow's profile page


  • Nominated, QWF First Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“A startlingly good first book. It’s just damned good poetry, period. And it reads like Lithgow is an old pro. These poems are written in a very conversational and accessible style and they all have the feel of having arrived fully formed.”

Michael Dennis

“Treats old age with Lithgow’s own brand of compassion and fascination, and a state he can only project as lived experience.”

ARC Poetry