Satie’s Sad Piano

Satie’s Sad Piano



About the book

  • Shortlisted for the QWF A.M. Klein Poetry Award
  • Shortlisted for the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
  • Shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award
The news of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s death sends fifty-something Venus on a downward spiral through memories of a past relationship and a flashback to 1968, the height of Trudeaumania.

About the author

Souaid, Carolyn Marie

Carolyn Marie Souaid has been writing and publishing poetry for over 20 years. The author of six books and the winner of the David McKeen Award for her first collection, Swimming into the Light, she has also been shortlisted for the A.M. Klein Prize and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Much of her work deals with the bridging of worlds; the difficulty, perhaps the impossibility of it, but the necessity of the struggle. She has toured her work across Canada and in France. Since the 1990s, she has been a key figure on the Montreal literary scene, having co-produced two major local events, Poetry in Motion (the poetry-on-the-buses project) and the Circus of Words / Cirque des mots, a multidisciplinary, multilingual cabaret focusing on the "theatre" of poetry. Souaid is a founding member and editor of Poetry Quebec, an online magazine focusing on the English language poets and poetry of Quebec.


Mont Royal (a mountain with a view)


Even in death, he looms
larger than life,
with the sodium clouds
& the gun-slung cold.
Rinsing back down over the city.
She trudges. Vectors, they all trudge
home to their davenports
& dour TVs.
Would she could wield
her ponderous thoughts,
pull souvenir swatches
from the aquarelle sky.

Venus (the heroine)


everything points to your
dimmed tail-lights of cars & outgoing geese
the grim, subtracted leaves

a bristled, Andean chill to the air

you on exotic soil
–I, exiled
in the long, wan shade
of home

metaphors not of sadness, really
but of the enormity
of unneeding you

this late in the afternoon

Rose (a fetus)


Beyond the instant, there is history,
loss, rooted in the gene-pool of a city,
rusted into its ancestry.
You smell it in the air.
The elusive Northwest Passage, a scarcity
of tea. Greenish, stegosaural hulks nailed
over the river: the Navigators.
Jacques Cartier, Champlain.
Les filles who set sail, uncanonized.
Oxidizing on infant soil.
This is what lushes life,
fleshes it out.
Each moment, part of a greater genealogy.
Branch after branch twigging backwards
to the ghost nugget.
Gentrify the industrial park, but in its heart
of hearts, a condo is still an abbatoir.

Take a moment like this.
You are alone, driving recklessly.
The radio is on, and you are all ears.
There is talk:
Trudeau has died.
Your sadness, shock shatters the singularity.

Suddenly, unexpectedly, we are two
careening down the highway.
You and I in the same humidity,
at opposite ends of living.
Your solid mind yielding
to the shards: a weak, past-tense
rose minnowing in the morgue.
The crashed histories piling up.
You lurch to a stop, your heart impounded,
the car coughing its way to the side of the road.
You wonder what might have been,
given another moment,
a different set of circumstances.
A softer, leafier stretch.
Hands clasped, communing,
we might have hunkered down
with a cup of chai and a cinnamon bun,
and watched the house where he lay dying,
the interred, half-mast sun


Erik Satie (1866-1925) was a French composer and pianist known for his eccentricity and the unusual titles he gave his compositions. Carolyn Marie Souaid aptly evokes Satie in the title of her fourth collection, Satie's Sad Piano.


— Yvonne Blomer ARC Poetry Magazine

Carolyn Souaid is a thoroughly serious writer: centric, not eccentric, and eager to confront the key issues of Canadian society. Satie's Sad Piano is a civic elegy in the tradition of Dennis Lee, a poem exploring Canada's uncertain destiny. She… >>

​Taking it to the streets 

While poetry and the poetic spirit can spring up and thrive anywhere, it seems that some fields are more fertile than others.  We don't mean to boast, but clearly Montreal is one… >>

Montreal Review of Books

Join us on Facebook Facebook Follow us on Twitter Twitter

up Back to top