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True Concessions (eBOOK)
DIGITAL EDITION

True Concessions (eBOOK)

Shortlisted, Thomas Head Raddall Award

When Stella disappears, leaving her toddler and husband behind, her mother Sonia, a widowed farm wife and former lighthouse keeper, struggles to face the possibility that her daughter may not have slipped through the ice. She may have been pushed.

In a intensely memorable narrative with the deceptive pull of an undertow, Sonia's past, a flotsam of lost dreams, bruised hopes, buried love, wells up to meet her. Confronted with her own history of choices and failures, Sonia is compelled to revise her perception of her daughter's life and dramatically change the way she lives her own.

Compton is a deft draughtsman of character, whose powers of description, timing, and astounding revelation coalesce into a splendidly nuanced account of the unguessed-at legacies of a life shaped by choices.


Craig Poile grew up in New Brunswick. He earned degrees in journalism and English literature at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he now lives. He works as a technical writer, has been active as a playwright and theatre producer, and co-owns Collected Works Bookstore. His first book of poetry, First Crack, was shortlisted for the 1999 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. He and his partner Christopher have two children, Lily and Samantha.

"True Concessions is a book full of poems that float as lightly as a balloon tied to a toddler's wrist, or, when they want to, stick like epoxy. Its language is deft and precise, its imagery keenly observed, and its themes poignant and humane. Like wings that lighten the feet, it turns the everyday dance into something unforgettable. Which is what this book is." — Jury statement, 2010 Ottawa Book Awards

"The poems in Craig Poile's True Concessions are graceful, a perfectly smooth parallel-parking job, dexterous in the tight corners of both suburban and urban landscapes. Often he is at his best with things: suits laid out on the bed like 'two black shovelfuls,' balloons, blankets, phones. Poile thrives when attuned to small displacements, as in one of his poems, the sonnet 'Place Royale,' where the poses of chairs 'revive what life was about / last night.' We glean our place, Poile is saying, from cues hovering on a kind of sensory surface tension, which may or may not last. His prosody is strong, his voice assured. A fine collection." — Arc Poetry Magazine

"A quiet gem of a book, True Concessions is a reflective journey through the days and the demands of life in the middle years. ... With their air of reluctant maturity, their thoughtfulness, their acceptance (and occasional resignation), they form up as a parade of concessions marching to the rhythms of life and the necessary realities of disappointment." — Ottawa Citizen

"Here is a poet that looks at things closely, and records them accurately. He does not easily yield to abstraction ... His skill with phrasing can play the gently echoing against the percussive, as in 'Voices that ache and affirm, like a phantom limb / News that comes like a bang in the ear. ...' This solid collection convinced me that Craig Poile has both craft and emotional range. I'll be watching for his next book." — Globe and Mail Books Online

"Each of these poems urges the spirit to walk with the poetic voice and travel the inroads of pattern and imagery to where it will awaken a stark reality — how well each is conceived — not in a far-reaching language, but in the common voice of everyday. Tempted, for example, has 'Noon, and the towers empty in one great flush ...' True Concessions is Poile's second book of verse and a strong omen of much good to follow." — Daily Gleaner

76 pages
Pub date: July 29, 2014