Latent Heat

Latent Heat



About the book

  • Winner of the Manitoba Book of the Year Award

Catherine Hunter articulates complex questions with utter simplicity, releasing the passion that often lies beneath surfaces of our ordinary lives, and guiding us, through subtle connections on many levels, until we "can hear the city breathe." Latent Heat presents a surprisingly full and lyrical exploration of the lives we live together in this place, the suffering, the confusion, and those evanescent moments that sustain us.

“A work of exceptional poetic inspiration and ability. Hunter combines the talent and technique of the storyteller with the finely chiselled images of the poet. Lovers of poetry will sink into the cool, clear waters of Hunter’s vision, never once asking to come up for air. But meaning here is not buried under mountains of words. It floats on the surface of magnificently flowing lines.” —Winnipeg Free Press

About the author

Hunter, Catherine

Catherine Hunter teaches English at the University of Winnipeg. In addition to her previous thrillers, Where Shadows Burn and The Dead of Midnight (Ravenstone Press), she has published one spoken word CD, Rush Hour, and three collections of poetry, Necessary Crimes, Lunar Wake, and Latent Heat, for which she received the Manitoba Book of the Year award.


13 Lines in Order to Forget You

a scientist draws a picture of the brain
on the blackboard, she labels the memory
with a piece of chalk

a doctor raises his hand, a question
flutters on the tip of his tongue
what were we talking about again?

meanwhile, a patient with amnesia wanders
down the hall and walks out of the hospital
how easily you've slipped my mind

I have forgotten you, and
if I were the two-headed woman
on the cover of the National Enquirer today

I would forget you twice


The Naked Eye
(in memoriam, HJB)

You are so far away, or let's be truthful,
you've been dead for twenty years,
a synapse in the brain of the city,
these streets so fractured, full of spaces.
I thought I saw you again this morning,
walking the maze of paths behind the planetarium,
as if you remembered the time
the teachers took us up there,
let us read the sky. They told us any loss
of matter is converted into energy. They gave us
telescopes and metaphors: You disappeared
at the speed of light. But some things are apparent only
to the naked eye. I can stand
on the Norwood Bridge and seem to touch
the potent circuit of the river. Venus, small
as the spurt of a penny match, appears
suspended, caught in the gap
of the St. Boniface cathedral's
excoriated window frame. The downtown lights
are sparks the city lets go, attempting
to purify itself. This city is still hot,
young friend, white hot.
It runs on the electricity conducted
through the streets when heroes
turn to constellations.
It's heat that separates the metal
from the ore, because in metallurgy,
as in death, beauty smoulders closer
and closer to the surface
of the body, becoming visible at last,
setting itself free. The burnt cathedral,
with its empty window open like a mouth,
says, ah. The sound of finding
what it's lost. If you can see me,
make some sign. Darkness
is settling down, all over the suburbs,
and Venus is rising. I can almost see
the passion that set her blazing like a flare,
an SOS, a way of saying, don't stop looking
for me. I am here.


Catherine Hunter grew up in Winnipeg, where she listened well to the rhythm and music of the streets, supermarkets and malls. Her well-attuned ear captures this rhythm and music. In Latent Heat, she plays with it until it pirouettes onto… >>

The Winnipeg Free Press

Catherine Hunter's Latent Heat is a treat for anyone interested in a good thoughtful read of good, thoughtful, contemporary poetry. The book is a clear reflection of her compulsion to be fresh and arresting in her poetry. But Catherine Hunter… >>



Wednesday, December 2



Catherine Hunter is interviewed by CKUW's Ron Robinson about her new novel, After Light.
(MP3 file, 8:52)

Download the MP3 clip
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