Almost Beauty: Poems by Sue Sinclair

In Almost Beauty we get a stunning new collection of some of the best of Sue Sinclair’s selected poems from her previous five collections and some brand new ones. Sinclair writes with a strange and yet beautiful wonder of the natural world and lets her poetry open up, as Ross Leckie says in the thoughtful introduction, “a kind of origami in language”.

I read this collection at the beginning of Spring and I felt like it was perfectly timely. Sinclair is focused on the season of change, Spring, and there are two poems called Springtime and numerous other pieces on nature and the changing of the seasons. I too believe that Spring is the most poetic of the seasons, and yet also the most difficult, trees yearning to be alive, flowers desperate to bud, all of the earth begging to be written about. Connecting to nature is its own sort of religious belief, a God that… “fits briefly back into your hand. This collection explores many almost complicated things and emotions. It’s almost truth, almost beauty, almost light, almost love, you are almost hungry; but not quite.

Even though Mortal Arguments came out in 2003, her piece, War in Other Countries feels especially apt at describing our current situation. Many times I reflect on my easy place in the world, as does Sinclair. “The density of being here, our lives an unearned rescue.” In her new poems Sinclair writes about the beauty and complication of new motherhood and the gigantic choice of having her tiny daughter.

The personification of flowers, animals, objects, seasons and places is a recurring theme and lends me to thoughtful pondering. In Domestic Habits I am struck reading about the sadness of animals dreaming, again and again, nodding in understanding. Sinclair takes titles and pieces from a lot of obscure influences; leaving me thirsty for more reading, more knowledge, more passion. Overall, a very satisfying and worthwhile collection, you can return to in your search for beauty.

Sue Sinclair grew up on the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk in Newfoundland and is currently living on Wəlastəkwiyik Territory, where she teaches creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. She is the author of five previous collections of poetry, all nominated for or winners of national or regional awards. Sinclair edits poetry for Brick Books and is also editor of the Fiddlehead.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ icehouse poetry (March 22 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1773102346
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1773102344

Laurie Burns is an English as additional language teacher to immigrants, literacy volunteer and voracious reader living in Dartmouth.