Burning Province: Poems

Burning Province: Poems

by Michael Prior
Burning Province: Poems

Burning Province: Poems

by Michael Prior


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Acerbic, moving, and formally astonishing, Michael Prior's second collection explores the enduring impact of the Japanese internment upon his family legacy and his mixed-race identity.

Canada-Japan Literary Award, Winner
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Winner
Raymond Souster Award, Shortlist

Amid the record-breaking wildfires that scorched British Columbia in 2015 and 2017, the poems in this collection move seamlessly between geographical and psychological landscapes, grappling with cultural trauma and mapping out complex topographies of grief, love, and inheritance: those places in time marked by generational memory "when echo crosses echo."
Burning Province is an elegy for a home aflame and for grandparents who had a complex relationship to it—but it is also a vivid appreciation of mono no aware: the beauty and impermanence of all living things. "The fireflies stutter like an apology," Prior writes; "I would be lying to you / if I didn't admit I love them."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780771072345
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Publication date: 03/24/2020
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL PRIOR is a writer and a teacher. His most recent poetry collection, Burning Province, won the Canada-Japan Literary Award and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award. His first book of poems, Model Disciple, was named one of the best books of the year by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New Republic, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, The Margins, PN Review, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day series, among other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the New York Public Library's Cullman Center, the Jerome Foundation, and Hawthornden Literary Retreat, Prior holds graduate degrees from the University of Toronto and Cornell University. He divides his time between Saint Paul, M.N. and Vancouver, B.C.

Table of Contents


A Hundred and Fifty Pounds 1

Self-Portrait as a Portrait of My Grandfather, December 8, 1941 4

Auction 5

Theseus's Ship 6

Light and Years 7

Mute Swans, Yellow Irises 8

Tashme 10

Richmond 11

My Pronunciation Was Wrong 12

Portrait of My Grandmother as the Burning Province 13

Wake 14

In Cloud Country 16

Whether 19

Province 20

Grandfathers' Axes 22


Steveston 25

Pastoral 27

Vole 28

White Noise Machine 30

Minoru 32

My Fathers Birthday Is the Day Before Mine 37

White Noise Machine 39

Poem After the Gift of an Ammonite 40

New Year 42

Salamander 43

Never Been Better 45

Campanology 47

The Night 49

Tashme 51

The Light from Canada 52

Georgic 54

Wakeful Things 57

Notes 59

Acknowledgements 61

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