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What You Used to Wear

What You Used to Wear

Charmaine Cadeau's intensely imagined poems captivate everyone who experiences them. Delving beneath the gleaming surfaces of satellite dishes, wagon-wheels, rain-barrel planters, and suburban sprawl, she reveals a luminous spirituality. The encroachment that turns rural Ontario into cottage country becomes Cadeau's unsentimental locus of truth and beauty. With skill that even experienced poets seldom possess, Cadeau evokes the intangibility of perception, its flickering contingencies.

In What You Used to Wear, Charmaine Cadeau has achieved what all young poets wish for but almost none attain. Her poetry is so impressive that her first book appears unheralded, untested by journal publication, and with few of the other supports usually so essential to first collections. Ross Leckie, Goose Lane's poetry editor and Cadeau's former creative writing professor at the University of New Brunswick, says, "This is very much a surprise book. I threw the manuscript into the mix to fill out packages for the readers, and it kept coming to the top." Anne Simpson, a finalist for the 2003 Governor General's Award for poetry and winner of the 2004 Griffin Prize, eagerly edited the book.

With the publication of What You Used to Wear, Goose Lane is proud to launch the first book of a truly remarkable poet.


Charmaine Cadeau grew up in Streetsville, Ontario. She is a graduate of Trent University and Queen's University. She has a Master's degree in creative writing from the University of New Brunswick and is working on a PhD in English and creative writing at the State University of New York at Albany.

"A penchant for the descriptive." — Prairie Fire Review of Books

"What You Used to Wear would be a good book to take to the country, to read there with careful idleness, sensitive to what it says, to what it does not say. Cadeau's restraint traces the contours of something secret uncontained." — Fiddlehead

78 pages
Pub date: August 4, 2004