Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry Canadian

What if red ran out

by (author) Katia Grubisic

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Apr 2008
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2008
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2014
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


What if red ran out is the assured first collection from one of Canada's finest young poets. Provocative, funny, and brash, the poems in this collection leap from one surprising image to another, from poignancy to an outlandish, teasing delight. The sheer tonal range of Grubisic's poems is remarkable. They shimmer with playfulness yet deepen into contemplative gravity.

These street-smart poems register the pulse of contemporary commodity culture's off-kilter pacing; "the hyena at the bodega," as she calls it. They peer into back alleys of thought and bring forth our fears. But then, all at once, they race down the street again, laughing, reminding us of all we love and how we might hold onto it.

About the author

Katia Grubisic is a writer, editor, and translator whose work has appeared in various Canadian and international publications including The Walrus, The Fiddlehead, The Globe and Mail, Grain, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Fire. Her collection What if red ran out (Goose Lane Editions, 2008) was shortlisted for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and won the 2009 Gerald Lampert award for best first book.Her book translations include Louis Patrick Leroux’s play False Starts: A Subterfuge of Excellent Wit (with Alexandre St-Laurent; Talonbooks, 2016), Martine Delvaux’s White Out (LLP, 2018), Jeanne Painchaud’s ABCMTL (ruelle, 2019), Stéphane Martelly’s Little Girl Gazelle (ruelle, 2020), Ioana Georgescu’s Daughterof Here (LLP, 2020), and Marie-Claire Blais’s Songs for Angel (House of Anansi, 2021). Her translations of David Clerson’s first novel, Brothers (QC Fiction, 2016), and of Alina Dumitrescu’s A Cemetery for Bees (LLP, 2021) were shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for translation.

Katia Grubisic's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Here is a poetry of crackling intelligence, pastoral elegance, urban bawdiness, and — in the lines, the language, the sheer glorious stuff — abundance. Grubisic mourns and celebrates all that is tenuous in poems that are vibrantly, almost vehemently, alive. A memorable début from a writer whose voice is, already, unmistakable."

Stephanie Bolster

"There is a high-minded passion to Katia Grubisic's debut poetry collection."

<i>Montreal Review of Books</i>

"Every poem in this book is superb. It is the work of a major Canadian poet at the peak of her powers."

D.C. Reid

"Katia Grubisic draws you into her lines like a spider on hyper-spin. I'm talking more than dazzle here: intelligence galore and an inventive streak that's close to bliss. What if red ran out takes the 'warped, melancholy, magnetic' and whirls it into all sorts of jolts and leaps."

Barry Dempster

Other titles by