Susan Elmslie

Susan Elmslie
Susan Elmslie

Susan Elmslie’s poetry collection, Museum of Kindness (Brick, 2017), was shortlisted for the 2018 Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Her first collection, I, Nadja, and Other Poems (Brick, 2006), won the A.M. Klein Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the McAuslan First Book Prize, the Lowther, and a ReLit Award. Her poems have also appeared in several journals and anthologies—including the Best Canadian Poetry in English (2008, 2015), the Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2017)—and in a prize-winning chapbook, When Your Body Takes to Trembling (Cranberry Tree, 1996). Her poems will appear in the first literary anthology on autism: The Girl Who Turned into a Moth: Contemporary Poets on Autism (edited by Sean Thomas Dougherty, forthcoming with New York Quarterly books in 2019). A Hawthornden Poetry Fellow, she holds an MA in Canadian Literature from Western and a PhD in English from McGill. Recently, she was an invited reader at the gritLit Festival in Hamilton and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem. She teaches English at Dawson College in Montreal.


The cup too full, tired experiment in surface tension.
The latch stuck, stuck, stuck, and then the gate

lurches open. Luxury of hot tears.
Constellation of crumpled Kleenex

on the quilted bedspread.
You awaken from a wine-induced sleep

to Cardinal’s song and warm floorboards,
a sliding screen door, the patched

overturned boat someone hoisted to the cove.
The blousy, stooped hedge after rain.

You’ve seen those lists of words
with no English translation: saudade, litost, toska.

To awaken, dream-
bruised, to your own life.

From Museum of Kindness, Copyright Susan Elmslie, 2017.