Short Journey Upriver toward Oishida

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
In Roo Borson’s new watershed collection, it is as though language were being taught to increase its powers of concentration, to hearken simultaneously to the fully impinged-upon senses, the reflecting mind with its griefs and yearnings, the heart with its burden of live memory. Always “the line bends as the river bends,” a quick ever-adjusting music that carries in its current those cherished, perishable, details of eye and ear, mid-life reflections on loss and home, the subtle shifts in season suddenly made strange and re-awakened. Recurrently, probingly, the line returns to the place of poetry in our lives. In the spirit of Basho’s famous journey to the far north, Borson’s “short journey” reminds us of the role of poetry in shaping and deepening our engagement with the world.



The willows are thinking again about thickness,
slowness, lizard skin on hot rock,
and day by day this imaging transforms them
into what we see: dragons in leaf, draped scales
alongside the river of harried, spring-stirred silt.
The magpie recites Scriabin in early morning as a...
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“Roo Borson invites us to embark on a meditative, imaginative and spiritual journey. This book has a profound inner life. It is resonant and whole, moving with quiet, apparently easy steps into the depth of human experience.”
–Jury citation, Governor General’s Award

In poetry, few things matter so much as a hungry eye, a fresh way of responding to the world… Roo Borson is a true original.”

“She’s become one of the best-known Canadian poets of her generation. She’s a clear writer, clear-minded, with a dark and musical imagination.”
Washington Post

“She absorbs one totally, dissolving the conventional distinctions between body, mind, and heart.”
Globe and Mail

“To read her poetry is to make an exhilarating discovery.”
Toronto Star