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burninghouse

burninghouse

48 pages
Published:   October 27, 2020
Poetry 
Paperback:   9781895488463   $19.95

It is time we resist.
And how I have strained and stretched
taut against it, this time,
tossing it off in some neglected corner of the kitchen,
where it does not belong, can be ignored,
until the odd moment of late-night coffee,
nightmares recalled.
— from "hold fast"

Taking its title from a child’s drawing of a burning house where "there is always the crucial act of rescue, saving somebody, nobody hurt and they can build another house as long as nobody dies," burninghouse peels away the veneer of the speaker’s existence to reveal the hypocritical inconsistencies that lie beneath, including weaning children, decorum in elevators, and homelessness. Deeply rooted in the passing of time, Deborah Stiles offers a clear-eyed perspective on the realities of motherhood and womanhood in an age when old patriarchal orders are in flux and our relationship with the natural world is under threat. "Now I turn my back on the gestures and the words usually in place there, at the door, and go, and that I do disturbs me."
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Author

Deborah Stiles was a tenured humanities and rural studies professor at Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture from 1998 to 2019. Born and raised in Appalachia, she has made Atlantic Canada her home (with occasional forays to West Virginia) since 1994. The author of the collections Riding Limestone and Movement Catalogued, Stiles has also published on regional, rural, and gender cultural studies and environmental humanities. She lives in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.