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Amateurs at Love

Amateurs at Love

Love is a boxcar going off the rails. For anyone who has experienced the highs and lows of love and wants to know they are not alone.

Patricia Young's new collection confirms her status as one of Canada's great and most versatile contemporary poets. In Amateurs at Love, she explores the dynamic, liminal space between lovers, taking precise aim at the silent climacteric moments of the heart: the interrogating, persuading, confiding, reflecting moments that help us feel and understand that distance.

Her response is unexpected, unsettling and emotionally pungent. To the question of what is love, her interlocutor answers,

I think it means a boxcar going off the rails, grain spilling down a gully, fermenting over summer, a bear gorging on that grain, passing out in a field, a bear that could wake any moment, hung-over and thirsty and ready to kill for a drop of water

In forms ranging wildly from pangramic love songs to prose poems, Young guides her readers through the many layers of human relationship with unappeasable joy. Her poetic voice, her bold and unconventional metaphors, her rich incantatory rhythms and linguistic dexterity, lure us into a pulsing universe that leaves no aspect of human nature unblemished.


Patricia Young has published twelve collections of poetry and one of short fiction. Her poems have been widely anthologized and she has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the B.C. Book Prize, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, a CBC Literary Prize, several National Magazine Awards, the Bliss Carman Award, and the Confederation Poets Prize. She has twice been nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry. She lives in Victoria.

"Amateurs at Love is as delectable as anything I've read in ages. Young delivers her salty truths in dreamscapes that straddle a ridge between drollery and devastating one-two punches. Here you will find prickly pangramics, grousing animalia, family fables, insight and allegory, and — as in the best of teh best — yourself." — Sharon McCartney

"These poems could well be anyone's story, but each told in light touches is particular, the tone sometimes dark, if kept steadfastly whimsical in intent. A horse gorges on fermented daisies. Mice haunt a cottage with their absence. A boy comes to understand his mother has no answers for him. Not Patricia Young. Thankfully, in Amateurs at Love, she has found one for almost everything." — John Barton

"In Amateurs at Love, Patricia Young reveals parallel realities, not ghosts but fleeting glimpses of ourselves. Everyday love coexists as drama on a momentary stage, just on the other side of a veil, or it lives in a dreamlike state in which we are not sure if we are being dreamed or are dreamers. Young's extraordinary power of observation draws us in with fine detail, and the resonant precision of her language carries us along." — Patrick Friesen

104 pages
Pub date: September 25, 2018