The debut collection of New Brunswick poet Emily Davidson, Lift is an examination of how to be alive without being adrift. Loosely narrative, the collection spans two Canadian coasts, its speaker a transplant from Atlantic to Pacific. Lift asks questions of mannequins in shop windows, of revellers at house parties, of ex-lovers and classic films and grade-school dramas. Through careful observation, wry humour, and inquisitive uncertainty, Davidson charts her course through solitude and disconnection back to her roots and into the unknown. Comprising poems that are colloquial and elaborate, familiar and fresh, unshrinking and compassionate, Lift assembles a miscellany of what is borne away on the tide, and what comes back again. It carves a path through the world, into the heart, and at last arrives at home.
Davidson’s poetry is awash with language that lifts off the page and ranges from the rhythms and beats of youthful discovery to the pulses and throbs of the natural world that merges with city life. Gently philosophical about what the voyage of self-discovery means and what must be left behind to move ahead, it employs both a narrative structure for careful telling and a lyrical base for the huge emotional geography of Canada’s coasts.
"Whether on the West Coast or the East, Emily Davidson is an urban flaneuse. Vancouver — in its bridges, bistros, and condos — is a "yellow spill of the fantastic," and her home ground, Saint John, a tumultuous city of wharves and vaulted markets, of builders and workers. The street life of coastal cities comes alive in her brilliant imagery and startling metaphors. A persuasive new voice in Canadian poetry, Davidson compels us to walk and watch with her."
—Anne Compton, Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry
"Grounded as they are in place as being, the poems in Emily Davidson’s Lift cause the everyday to break and spill into wonder, longing and grief. A child’s chant, a bird’s song become incantations. Davidson writes in language “skinned and glistening,” and it is in the pauses between words that she creates spaces 'made tall enough for god to fit.'”
—Rhea Tregebov, author of All Souls
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