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Hynes photo 15"Art is not documentary. It may accidentally serve that function in its own way, but its true effort is to open us to dimensions of the spirit and the self that normally lie smothered under the weight of living. "

-- Jeannette Winterson

 

 

 

Photo:  Vivek Shraya 

As a poet, editor and educator, Maureen believes that a primary principle for her work is for it to be holistic – that it intensely engage cognition, our senses and our emotions, which are such mysterious masters and servants in our lives, but which also form the constellation that makes us human.

"My poetry," says Maureen, "emerges from my habit of writing steadily out of everyday experience and what I’ve been witnessing around me, in my family and community, and in the broader world.  In this search, I sometimes find the still moment where a small spark or connection or realization can be made, hopefully with grace, that will birth a poem."

Maureen's fifth book of poetry, Sotto Voce, was released in October 2019 from Brick Books, and in April 2020,was shortlisted for the League of Canadian Poets' Pat Lowther Award . The judges commented: Sotto Voce is a meditation on the worlds and lives that exist under threat. This passionate and insightful collection moves the reader through a sense of grief and mourning for a natural world in peril and lacking in mercy. This collection explores tragic themes, though Hynes is unafraid to tackle issues with stark honesty, these poems leave the reader feeling refreshed and almost hopeful, returning to read and reread passages. 

Sotto Voce was also chosen as a 2020 finalist for the U.S.- based Golden Crown Literary Society's Award for Poetry, an award that honours "books written by women who love women." 

Sotto Voce, says Maureen, is a book intended "to give full attention to a world in shambles, a world in which “mercy is failing,” to bear witness to the “dynamite stick of injustice,” one that balances fear and hope, gathering themes of history and human migration; of climate change and the pleasures of natural beauty; of women’s lives, both straight and queer; and finally, good fortune and renewal. The Allure of the Ordinary, and Wrestling Poems into Coherence and Beauty Because of my work with other Toronto poets to combine “Lost Rivers” walking tours with poetry, the presence of rivers courses through the book from start to finish. I’ve gathered in appeals to ancestors or goddesses, and called upon instances of good fortune and our own personal “concoctions,” our sometimes effective, sometimes imperfect ways of recovering from loss – song and the arts, laughter and laments, acceptance and love. "

"But, she says, "it's important to know when to speak loudly, and when to whisper."

Sotto Voce is available for purchase at brick.books@sympatico.caYou can also order it through your independent bookstore, or through Chapters/Indigo, or Amazon.ca or Amazon.com.

To hear Maureen read from Sotto Voce,  go to Brick Book's YouTube site, or to The League of Canadian Poets' Poetry Pause site.

Check out her discussion on the writing of the poems in Sotto Voce:  The Treasures and the Damage on the Literary Press Group's "All Lit Up" website and   on the Ontario Book Publishers' website, "Open Book," and an interview with her about the collection:  The Allure of the Ordinary and Wrestling Poetry into Coherence. 

Maureen is pleased to have contributed poems to some important 2020 anthologies:  We Are One:  Poems from the Pandemic, edited by George Melnyk (Bayeux Press) and Sweet Water:  Poems for the Watersheds,edited by Yvonne Blomer (Caitlin Press).

To read a few *new* poems, click on:  Poems and Other Writings. New poems recently published work appears in The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment and Culture, from Wilfred Laurier University.

If you are interested in the workshops she offers or her editing services, see Teaching & Editing.

The  News and Events page will tell you what she's currently up to.

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