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48 pages
Published:   September 26, 2023
Poetry  /  Queer Lit  /  icehouse poetry
Paperback:   9781773103051    $19.95

Longlisted, Raymond Souster Award

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art —

Breaking open John Keats’s “Last Sonnet,” Ali Blythe writes marginality into the canon, at once claiming, reviving, and un-fixing the Romantic vision.

Taking place over one night, the poet in bed next to a sleeping lover, Blythe’s revelatory poems struggle with questions of illusion and reality, immersion and escapism, that which endures and that which is transient. Held taut in formal quivers of short lines, each poem is shot through with eros — to address, to dress and undress, the subject of the love poem and perhaps love itself.
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Ali Blythe is the author of two critically acclaimed poetry collections exploring trans-poetics. About Blythe, Stewart Cole writes, “It’s exciting to see a writer so conscious of building a body of work within and across collections, pursuing not just a set of ideas and concerns but an artistic vision.”

Blythe has held roles as a guest editor of special editions of literary magazines including for The League of Canadian Poets, Arc Magazine, and Malahat Review, and as editor-in-chief for the Claremont Review, an international literary magazine for youth. His poems and essays have been published in national and international literary journals and anthologies, including The Broadview Introduction to Literature, Best Canadian Essays, and Best Canadian Poetry.


Longlisted: Raymond Souster Award


“If I could make a shelter to cover my human skin, in the forest maybe, to dream, the pages of this book would be every needed thing to vibrate anew. Ali Blythe writes the kind of poems I always want in my life, a laser focus dancing down the page! Blythe is the Nijinsky of poetry for our precarious world, ‘one myth / dissolving within / another, risking / our own nihility.’” — CAConrad, author of Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return

Stedfast is one of those books that reminds me why I love poetry. ‘Each new day is cut / from the key of the last;’ if the same is true of each new poem, here’s a set of gleaming keys cut from Keats’s sonnet. Where Keats’s bright star shines stedfastly, Blythe’s star offers an unsteady light. Instead of longing for constancy, the lyric ‘I’ of Stedfast loves and desires within the quivering here and now — and the poignancy of this love gives me all the feels.” — Sue Sinclair, author of Almost Beauty

“For some the lyric poem can approach great unanswerable questions, but does such a poem divine the answer or conjure it, summon it from darkness? I found myself very attuned to the lines of Ali Blythe; so carefully tuned, they go beyond human knowledge and into the forest of wild knowledges.” — Kazim Ali, author of Sukun

“Just like the two asterisks on a blank page, ‘two figures continue / their delicate revolutions,’ or an unsteady star, Stedfast is a slow burn that leaves a mark.” — British Columbia Review

“Blythe skillfully adopts canonical poetry to craft remarkable images and elegant insights into love and the art of verse.” — Miramichi Reader