Cityscapes in Mating Season

Cityscapes in Mating Season



About the book

Cityscapes in Mating Season combines a lyric sensibility with a distrust of any such singular vision, a loneliness coupled with desire to feel into the thrumming ground of a place, and a willingness to register beauty even at its most apocalyptic. By turns playful, sensual, and unsettling, the poems in this collection are always tightly crafted, attuned to language's possibilities as well as its limitations, its pitch and roll. From protest-filled Montreal to Vancouver's property disputes, the works in Cityscapes reach out to the textures of urban space, but also interrogate the human industrial facets of supposed wilderness—graffitied ruins in the Irish countryside and baited crab traps along B.C.'s Gulf Islands.

Preindustrial techniques of looking—the picturesque aesthetic, landscape tourism—meet iron fire escapes and Alberta's clamorous construction boom, in poems that reject an easy pastoralism or nostalgia to reveal the politics of ownership and the power of dynamics of gender and space. Street grids give way to arterial passageways where blood flows and nerve endings fire through bodies that are fearful, mysterious, or libidinous. These are poems of varied anatomies, where death and desire take unexpected directions, and share the same air.

About the author

Gaston, Lise

Lise Gaston grew up on both sides of Canada, in Fredericton and Victoria, and has also lived in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, and Limerick, Ireland. Her poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in journals across Canada, the United States, and Ireland, including Arc Poetry Magazine, European Romantic Review, The Fddlehead, Lemon Hound, The Malahat Review, Matrix Magazine, Numero Cinq, and Prairie Fire. Her writing has won awards in Arc‘s Poem of the Year and How Poems Work contests, and has been selected for Best Canadian Poetry in English 2015. She is a graduate of English and Creative Writing programs at the University of Victoria and Concordia University in Montreal, and is now a PhD Candidate in English at the University of California, Berkeley. She divides her time between Berkeley and Edmonton. Cityscapes in Mating Season is her first book.


from From "Les Rues":


we ran some walk-up stairs against the slam
of riot shields watched bar patrons shoved from
les terrasses a cloud of grey a crowd of men
a spurt of red one eye lost to the spray

we marched for that stitched-up hole we marched against
Charest we haunted him in daylight I
marched for the sun that caught the hidden grey
in your black curls for memory of your
tired body slamming me against the wall

your sweet heat my other rising ended
alone on an office carpet months
before the marches so-so-so
how little we were
willing to

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