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Drawing Down a Daughter

Drawing Down a Daughter

112 pages
Published:   September 11, 2007
Paperback:   9780864924964    $17.95

Claire Harris has always been a formidable force and now her celebrated book-length poem is available once again in a new edition. In this dream-collage, which cuts across the boundaries of prose and poetry, she combines post-modernist influences with a fully realized narrative. Spanning a few days and several decades, Drawing Down a Daughter follows a woman-dreamer as she prepared to give birth. Speaking to her unborn daughter through journals, letters, stories, and eloquent imaginings, Harris's unnamed narrator calls up a distinctive cast of characters as she travels from the tropical warmth of the West Indies to Canada with its houses "iced in snow." Drawing Down a Daughter was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award in 1992.


Claire Harris (1937-2018) was a Canadian poet of Trinidadian background who produced eight collections of poems. Her first volume, Fables from the Women's Quarters (1984), won the Commonwealth Award for Poetry for the Americas Region. First released in 1992, Drawing Down a Daughter was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry. Her work has been included in more than 70 anthologies and has been translated into German and Hindi.

Claire Harris was born in Trinidad, West Indies, studied at University College, Dublin, where she earned a BA Honours in English. She came to Canada in 1966 and settled in Calgary. In 1975, during a study leave in Nigeria, she first wrote for publication and was encouraged by Nigerian poet, J.P. Clark. She also earned a diploma in communications from the University of Lagos, Nigeria (1975). After returning to Canada, Harris became active in the literary community in Calgary working as poetry editor at Dandelion from 1981-1989 and helping to found the all-Alberta magazine, blue buffalo, in 1983. She taught grade nine English in Calgary's Separate School system for 28 years, influencing generations of young people.


"A unique contribution to writing on identity and consciousness." — Books in Canada

"Harris is, as always, a compelling writer; the prose sections in particular are stunning. Of equal delight are Harris's witty and titillating deconstruction of our assumptions about factuality and fiction — an investigation Borges himself would have delighted in... Brilliant and highly crafted poetry... Harris's book (like Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion) should be read for the sheer beauty of the writing." — Quill & Quire