Notes on Leaving by Laisha RosnauNotes on Leaving by Laisha Rosnau

Notes on Leaving

byLaisha Rosnau

Paperback | March 23, 2004

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Notes on Leaving is a debut poetry collection that is every bit as captivating, emotive and razor-sharp as Laisha Rosnau's bestselling first novel The Sudden Weight of Snow. Rosnau's poignant poems address life in a startlingly direct and honest voice, employing a robust combination of jaw-dropping forthrightness and delicately crafted verse.

The language of Notes on Leaving is brusque, bright and instinctively fluid: lines and words flow and merge as naturally as they collide head-on. In the world-weary persona of someone who has always found herself on the run ("my mind was farther away than farm and field. . . "), and "prone to breakdowns/ of all kinds," Rosnau energetically conveys sexually charged and angst-ridden desires to urgently abandon a small-town upbringing, among various other lives and identities. She convincingly presents these primal urges as strikingly and sensuously familiar to us all, "tracing a route down your torso, thrumming south,/ the highway swelling with each town, until/ you round the last curve, a crescendo, and cross/ the river to a place where the city meets itself." Cutting through time zones that encompass the rural and urban, the remembered and the forgotten, Rosnau reminds us to "Pay attention to your surroundings," to "watch for potential road-kill," and to "compare scars" along the way.
Laisha Rosnau is the author of The Sudden Weight of Snow (McClelland and Stewart, 2002), which was an honourable mention for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Rosnau’s first collection of poetry, Notes on Leaving (Nightwood, 2004), won the 2005 Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award. Her second, Lousy Explorers (Nightwood, 200...
Title:Notes on LeavingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:85 pages, 7.5 × 5.25 × 0.19 inPublished:March 23, 2004Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:088971200X

ISBN - 13:9780889712003

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Read from the Book

WONDERLANDShe pretends to read in the back of the car,Disney books, thin and coded with colour - the white of milk-sweet girls, true lovein a bead of crimson blood. She stares downpictures until they blur: fairies become smudgedbugs on the windshield, a prince morphs into a twisted plastic bag, tumblesalong the side of the highway. She listensto taped voices, turns pages when she hearsthe sound of a tinkling waterfall (handclamped between her legs whenshe has to pee.)These books are not full of the wordsshe finally learns to read. Instead, somewhere on the prairies, she looksout the window and understands the sign.Understands that the backwards 3 is an E,that, with the curl of two snakes and a circle moon, this spells ESSO.She holds the knowledge in her mouth, releases the shapes of words to the reflection of her lips in the car window.She will tell you this story later,the back seat thick with baggage, the dogstinking in the heat. She will tell you onetoo many times as your road trips blur together,the lights on the signs in each new small town no longer winking like bright promises.When you pull over at gas station restrooms,you will light a cigarette while she goes, spellher name on air with the cherry, stampit under foot when she gets back into the car.WHAT IS TAKEN, THENwhat is lost? How much am I responsiblefor giving away? Yes, I followed himdown trails, beside rivers, up slopes,strained each muscle that moved me. I followed, feet pounding a rhythm with his, a series of spent breaths that would eventually lead us back to the place where we had started.I know what I wanted. Air thrust in and out of lungs like blows, that pure physicality, shortness of breath, chests rising, pupils engorged to take in the peaks around us. Fine lick of sweat, taste of salt on mouths, we would always lead ourselves back to where we started.To where he would leave one morningin a sports car that denied his life story with its two seats, not able to carry the plot of his wife, their children, mortgage, employment so secure it had taken years. My station wagon lied too, hoodwinked at things that weren't there.I gear down to slow my departurefrom this place. When I thinkI have found the base of thesemountains, I'll stop and weep, smarting with my own drama.What is taken then, what is given away, how mucham I responsible forlosing when I knew every run through the woods would bring usback. In my mind, he is perpetuallyreturning - an open door, a wife balancing children on hip, in hand.In my mind, I am always lookingfor places where I can sleep in the back of the car alone, doors lockedso I will be safe.

Editorial Reviews

"From childhood formation to youthful transformation, from teen sexuality to adult consciousness, from world travel to the intense and transient friendships formed in a post-modern world, Rosnau nails the human experience through the eyes of a persona who is wise-woman, smart-girl, and cynical innocent...

"Readers will find these forty-plus poems insightful and accessible."
-Anne-Marie Oomen, ForeWord