“These wonderful poems open a world of sensation and memory. But it is a world revealed by language, never just controlled. The voice that guides the action here is openhearted and openminded—a lyric presence that never deserts the subject or the reader. Syntax, craft and cadence add to the gathering music from poem to poem with—to use a beautiful phrase from the book, ‘each note tethering sound to meaning.’”
Although at times haunting and elusive, the poems in Shara McCallum's latest collection Madwoman are transformative, seeking to chart and intertwine three stages of a mother's life from childhood to adulthood to motherhood. Rich with the complexities that join these states of being, the poems wrestle with the idea of being girl, woman and mother at once. McCallum questions how we form our identities and who shapes those identities for us.
Little soul—kind, wandering—
body's host and guest,
look how you've lowered yourself,
moving in a world of ice,
washed of colour. My girl,
what compelled you once
is no more.
“Shara McCallum is like a great marathoner traversing myth, mind, and memory. Her work steers us through the heart of troubled landscapes, as well as the landscapes of the troubled heart. ‘In the country where she lives which is no country, the madwoman maps desire’s coordinates onto her body,’ she writes in this wise, fiery new collection. There are no other poets writing with McCallum’s beautiful intensities of form and feeling.”