Shane Neilson

Shane Neilson Photo
Shane Neilson

Shane Neilson is a poet, physician, and critic from New Brunswick. He is currently working as a Vanier scholar in the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster University where he researches the representations of pain in CanLit. Dysphoria, the final entry in his affect trilogy, was published in 2017 with the Porcupine’s Quill. He also won a Mitchell Prize and the Walrus Poetry Prize in 2017. In the Fall of 2018, he will publish New Brunswick with Biblioasis.


Earth, Fire, Air, Water

The cry of pain is life – Bichat

Feel your cells.
They dwell in the drama you set,
that spell of forget and remember.
Cells are demented elephants,
atolls that move in storms.
Heaven or hell is the Brownian motion.
From the sky: portents and weather, the impetus.
In Hooke’s eye, pain is an organelle.
Cells die together, as do we.
En masse, the telos is alone,


for me, that’s never true.
I will die thinking of you. I will die thinking.
Of you, the pain says nothing. You are.
What I say, and sing, for I am in pain,
and have always been: I am alive.
Pain is not the cry.
The cry is that I think of you,
I think of life.

From Dysphoria, Copyright Shane Neilson, 2017.