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The Chronic Liar Buys a Canary

The Chronic Liar Buys a Canary

by Elizabeth Edwards

The debut collection of poems by Elizabeth Edwards.


The debut collection of poems by Elizabeth Edwards.

Editorial Reviews

This volume is a book of poetry I think secondary school students would like. The words aren't too dense on the page, the language and style are smart but accessible, and the wry sense of humor is always inviting. Edwards uses the reassuring, beguiling tone of everyday speech to lure readers in. She writes in the style many students do, but better. Take the opening stanza of the longish poem that starts Part IV, titled simply: "Laura, Fifth Grade": "Maybe it was her willingness / to let the boys pencil-poke her arms / or her calm compliance / as they twisted half-licked suckers / in her pale hair, that made us ostracize her." Or, this from the beginning of "The Name of the Game": "This is about doing ninety on the Pennsylvania turnpike / the whole way home and no ticket." There's a blurb from writer Sherman Alexie on the back that sums up the book's appeal nicely. He says the poems "elevate and irritate, they inspire and depress, they mythologize and demonize. It's a powerful first book. Read it." KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Carnegie Mellon Univ. Press, dist. by Cornell Univ. Press, 92p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Daniel Levinson

Product Details

Carnegie-Mellon University Press
Publication date:
Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)

What People are Saying About This

Sherman Alexie
"I carried this book with me for a long time, read it on planes and trains, nearly lost it once in a rental car, but ran back in time to rescue it from my absent-minded self, and as I read it, and reread it, and read it silently and aloud, and stole lines from it for my own poems, I realized I was having a damn relationship with the thing. That’s what these poems do. They elevate and irritate, they inspire and depress, they mythologize and demonize. It’s a powerful first book. Read it."
Baron Wormser
"The current that pulses through these poems is exhilarating. At times it is almost giddy and at times it is pensive—joy looking at the face of time. Always, it is the stuff of finely tuned, throbbing language that is willing to enter into a remarkable array of situations and give off very genuine sparks."
Jack Myers
"Elizabeth Edwards’ The Chronic Liar Buys a Canary is a fearless, incisive, tough-minded, and artful debut. Since one of the great pleasures of art for me is to witness the extraction of the eternal from the brouhaha of the daily, Edwards doubles the pleasure by performing this with considerable panache and verve."

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH EDWARDS was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned an M.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire and has won several prizes and awards for her poetry, most recently a National Endowment for the Arts and Maine Arts Commission fellowship. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Witness, The Cream City Review, Cimarron Review, and The Antioch Review. She now lives on the southern Maine seacoast.

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