The Hamilton Poetry Centre, partnering with gritLIT, is pleased to present a Canada Council sponsored reading by Joanna Lilley (The Fleece Era). This special event is a joint reading with Hamilton poet Bernadette Rule (Earth Day in Leith Churchyard).

Thursday, April 7, 2016 from 7pm-8pm.

Location: Art Gallery of Hamilton – 123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON L8P 4S8

Joanna Lilley, poet, Yukon
Joanna Lilley, poet, Yukon

photo credit: Marten Berkman

Joanna Lilley’s poetry collection, The Fleece Era, was published by Brick Books 2014. Her short story collection, The Birthday Books, will be published by Hagios Press in their Strike Fire New Author Series in May 2015.
Joanna’s awards include first prize in the Vancouver International Writers’ Festival Poetry Contest, first prize in the Lothian Life Poetry Competition, first prize in the Worldwise Regional Creative Writing Competition, first prize in the Authors on Eighth Creative Non-Fiction Contest and joint first prize in the Baked Poetry Contest. She has also won second prize in the Dr. W H Drummond Poetry Contest and third prize in The Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest.

Joanna’s poems and stories have been published in journals and anthologies in Canada, the US and the UK, including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead and The Antigonish Review. Her work has twice been a finalist for The Malahat Review Open Season Awards and has also been a finalist for The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award, the Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers and the CBC Poety Face-off. Her poems have been commended in the McLellan Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the PRISM Poetry Contest and the Winston Collins/Descant Poetry Prize, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Joanna has a MLitt degree in creative writing from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and is a Humber School for Writers graduate. She has twice received an Advanced Artist Award from the Government of Yukon.

Joanna helped to found the Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink and has coordinated the biennial Whitehorse Poetry Festival as well as local poetry readings. She has completed a second poetry manuscript and a novel and is currently in the early stages of developing a third poetry manuscript about extinct animals.

Joanna has lived north of the 60th parallel in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, since she emigrated from the UK in 2006.

What people are saying about The Fleece Era
“I’m reminded of Emily Dickinson’s semi-mystical, epigrammatic lyrics, but also Elizabeth Bishop’s pointillist portraiture — the exquisite image and restrained emotion.”
George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald

“At times chilling in its honesty, The Fleece Era nevertheless embraces the complexities of human life with warmth and passion.”
 Adebe deRango-Adem, Quill and Quire
“In a voice that is at times happily off-kilter and nearly musical, the poems in Joanna Lilley’s The Fleece Era seek to solve the riddles of her present life in the Yukon and her past familial relationships…”
Al Rempel, Arc Poetry Magazine

“The Fleece Era contains some beautiful poetry, but has a narrative ease to it that will appeal to readers who don’t usually read poetry. The writing is taut yet deep, brimming with energy and openness.”
Literary Press Group of Canada

“Joanna Lilley’s The Fleece Era is the discovery of Brick Books’ spring season, a first poetry collection with a subtle, shifting vision of ecological and human connection.”
Julian Gunn, The Coastal Spectator

”In her poem ‘Neo-Colonialist’, Joanna Lilley brushes aside her sensitivities and concerns and adopts a comical tone that is (self-)critical of tropes associated with historical and economical privilege, bringing about a marvelous effect, and this crafty poetic approach amid our obsession with everything North is to be found throughout her collection.”
Garry Thomas Morse, Jacket 2

“There are so many poems in The Fleece Era that could count toward my list of favourites that the challenge to relay them all in a single review would be overly daunting and not really feasible…”
Andreas Gripp

Earth Crack

Sound travels a long way here,
the nearest to the North Pole
I’ve ever lived.

The boom and crack
through the triple glazing
might be the sound of brash ice

shouldering into the lake.
Or it could be the strain
of all our freight upon this Earth:

books we own instead of borrow,
clothes we replace instead of mend,
boats and canoes we keep

for a quarter of summer
under tarps low with snow,
cars and trucks we euthanize.

Redistributing the weight
might give us a chance,
if shipping wasn’t so pricey

and the Red Cross offered
pick-ups here. What if the dotted line
of the Arctic Circle just above me

on the map is a perforation?
What if the piece of the world
I’m on tears off?

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