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Hymnswitch 101

It’s publishing day for Ali Blythe’s Hymnswitch, and we couldn’t be more excited. When his debut collection, Twoism, came out in 2015 from icehouse poetry, it received critical acclaim, and Blythe continues to impress. His new release revisits themes of identity and the body again at places of recovery and transition from new emotional awareness.

We’ve gathered some of the initial reactions to the collection as well as examples of Blythe’s poetry to whet your appetite for this intimate exploration.


Read on for more.


The Puritan showcased two poems – “I’m Always Here Except When I’m Not” and “Hawk and Hare”.


Now, I do not wish
to say goodbye but
I’ve a chest to quiet,

eyes to close,
and the raindrops
are starting to freeze.


Quill & Quire reviewer Jesse Eckerlin had some kind things to say about Hymnswitch.


“With incredible economy of language and dialectical drama at the levels of sentence and caesura, Blythe delivers taut yet expansive hymns from ‘the golden-throated era / of the hormone.’” writes Quill & Quire.


There is nothing quite like listening to the poet read their work, and All Lit Up quite agrees. Not only will you find more poetry in that link, but a reading of “More Reasons” as well.


My new body 
is narrow and dangerous

and in it a man’s voice
Watches for John Cage’s baton


Maisonneuve also featured two poems from Blythe, one being “Shazam” and the other “Disinhibition”.


Let’s right here,

right now, agree

to never again

speak of time.


Do you ever wonder if anyone shares the same thoughts, reading through a poem? Are you sure you’re reading it right? Of course you are. Check out this excerpt from Adam Sol in Open Book guiding through Blythe’s “Shattered” poem.


The thing I like best about this poem is how it changes as I read it, so I don’t want to say anything as a prologue, except I already have by telling you that I love how this poem changes as I read it.



That concludes this weeks’ edition of our 101 series. Keep looking for more, we love to share!

101 series CanLit icehouse poetry poetry

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