Mood Swing, with Pear

Mood Swing, with Pear

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About the book

Sue MacLeod has been praised for finding nuances in the day-to-day—a project she continues in this vivid and refreshing new collection. The poems take us to a Toronto gallery (a tribute to iconic Alex Colville paintings), Nova Scotia streets and shores, and imaginary settings. Interspersed with MacLeod's own words are poems constructed from how-to books. A pottery handbook yields erotic instructions. A DIY guide offers a serendipitous view of history.

Playful but never glib, MacLeod's work is emotional at the core, infused with a subtle political awareness. The long, final poem is an elegy to an upstairs neighbour. Conflicted but ultimately moving, it is a testament to the often-overlooked ways people's lives get rubbed together.

About the author

MacLeod, Sue Sue MacLeod has lived in Halifax, where she was the city's inaugural poet laureate, in Toronto, and now in Montreal, but her roots are firmly in Cape Breton. Sue's poems have appeared in many journals, including The Malahat Review, Grain, Event and Room of One's Own, and anthologies including Coastlines: The Poetry of Atlantic Canada, The Art of Poetic Inquiry and Desperately Seeking Susans. Her work has won honours including Arc's Poem of the Year Award; she has been invited to read in nine provinces, and has taught poetry at Dalhousie University and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Sue is also a fiction writer whose first YA novel, Namesake, appeared in 2013 to critical acclaim. In 2015, she was shortlisted for a national award for her work as a freelance editor. Mood Swing, with Pear is her third book of poems.

Excerpt

from Mood Swing, with Pear

A pear that wasn’t eaten—
gone soft in the bowl.
I take it away and grief
surprises me. A gift so lovely
not accepted. The skin a mild yellow,
the stem curved and woody, still
bearing the weight.
               I admire
how the upper slopes
spread out to the larger
bottom—
                  quintessential
pear—
          and think
&         about snowmen, when they melt, head first,
on bright, mild days,
          lopsided
like long green pears
or self-possessed like this one:
                  a messenger
not from the tropics but smelling of meadows, of summer
a few orchards over,
a softly freckled boy
from across the fields.

This pear I didn’t eat—now I look
closely—has tiny black dots
like a
                five o’clock shadow on

               a man I may have
waltzed with in a bar or
on a kitchen floor
like this one, which I waltzed across
on my own just now when I was innocent
of the first pale bruises forming
in the fruit bowl,
scooting along in my purple socks
at bedtime, anticipating
coffee in the grainy
morning light.

Reviews

Like Gifts You Never Asked For: 
Sue MacLeod's Mood Swing, with Pear


Sue MacLeod’s poems in Mood Swing, with Pear, her third book of poet­ry, dance down and across the page. In turns play­ful and dead­ly seri­ous, tack­ling… >>

— Al Rempel ARC Poetry Magazine


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