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A thin fire runs through me

A thin fire runs through me

88 pages
Published:   March 28, 2023
Poetry  /  icehouse poetry
Paperback:   9781773102252    $19.95

How is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in.
Each line a strip of skin torn from me.

In A thin fire runs through me, Kim Trainor interrogates what it means to exist, to navigate the quotidian amidst the constant drip-feed of political and ecological disasters.

Written over an intense nine-month period in 2016 and 2017 amidst the stresses of heartbreak, depression, and the progression of a new love, Trainor’s exquisite sequence of short poems offers meditations on different hexagrams in the I Ching, or Book of Changes. Incorporating fragments from reportage on current events, Jewish liturgy, and lyric poetics, she latches her readers to the present while acknowledging the inescapable presence of the past.

A thin fire runs through me grapples with Trainor’s own personal circumstance while contemporaneously documenting the tenor of our times, suggesting that “We peer into other lives; we absorb words, headlines, violent events. We see and we don’t see. These scraps are unintegrated, unintegratable, yet we carry them.”
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Kim Trainor is the author of the poetry collections Karotype and Ledi. Her poems have won the Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Prize, the Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, and the Great Blue Heron Prize. She lives in Vancouver, unceded homelands of the xʷməθkʷəỳəm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səĺílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.


“With a fierce and deft yearning, Kim Trainor’s exquisite work returns with the evocative incantation that is A thin fire runs through me. These poems sensuously entwine human connection with grief, amid hopeful, verdant longing. Reading this propulsive book is to feel anointed, a guest of honor in an orphic space, with Trainor as your visionary guide in a complex and gorgeous terrain.” — Jennifer Lovegrove, author of Beautiful Children with Pet Foxes

“Everything happens at once in Kim Trainor’s A thin fire runs through me — the headline and the garden, the I Ching and the Song of Songs, stripping away and piling on, worry and grief and desire. With the steadiness of a daily spiritual practice, the short sections gather and explore, and what accrues is a powerful, transformative sensitivity that both haunts and inspires.” — Adam Sol, author of Broken Dawn Blessings

“Scattered lament stalled in depression, seared anew with love’s joy, Trainor contends with the fierceness of constant change. Now the I Ching says of A thin fire runs through me: 49. Ko/ Revolution (Molting) becoming 58. Tui/The Joyous, Lake.” — Jane Munro, author of False Creek

“With deft precision in form and content, Trainor has crafted a delicate, determined force. An unabashedly political text of and for this time, every line in the book hums with erotic reflection, ecological mourning, contemplative loss, and unfaltering resilience. Behold the sharpest of sparks, sure to ignite.” — Sarah de Leeuw, author of Lot

“Trainor’s use of I Ching, is appealingly enigmatic. Whether text or tea leaves, divination evokes life’s unknowability and the constancy of change. Further, its personal usefulness to the heartbroken and bereaved (and then revitalized) speaker suggests a quintessential human trait — the desire to know outcomes, the quest for order, and an urge for a supernatural assist from up high in the cosmos.” — Vancouver Sun