The Exiles' Gallery
Written by Elise Partridge
Publication Date April 09, 2015
Elise Partridge’s The Exiles’ Gallery extends the range of her widely acclaimed earlier books, Fielder’s Choice and Chameleon Hours, praised as “first-rate” (James Pollock) for their “authenticity” (Stephanie Bolster) and “brilliant precisions that reflect life’s plenitude” (Rosanna Warren).
Widely praised for her engagement and her attention to craft, Elise Partridge’s The Exiles’ Gallery confirms her standing as one of the most thoughtful, authentic voices in contemporary poetry. The poems in her third collection continue to explore what she has called “implicit questions about fullness of life or lives somehow thwarted, diminished, ended too early.” Through formal technique, painterly detail or her signature compressed directness, Partridge’s poems explore the past, present and future with compassion and grief, bearing witness to our not-so-still, all-too-brief lives.
Above all, The Exiles’ Gallery is a book of celebration. In these restless, nimble, and complex poems of apprehension — whether by a candid glance backward at childhood or through tributes to friends — Partridge’s arresting images and diction give shape to the complexity and abundance of experience, made more luminous and gilt-edged by the corridor of encroaching shadows. Dispossessed but defiant, these are songs of preservation and love.
Elise Partridge's Fielder's Choice was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poems in Canada; her Chameleon Hours was a finalist for the BC Book Prize, won the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Award, and was featured in the Washington Post "Poet's Choice" column. Her work has been anthologized in Canada, the U.S., Ireland, and the U.K., and has appeared in Arc, Poetry, The Walrus, The New Yorker, The Fiddlehead, Slate, PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Southwest Review, Yale Review, and The New Repulic.
"First rate . . . a true Canadian heir of Elizabeth Bishop." Poetryreviews.ca
"There is no cynicism or pretension here, only the authenticity that comes from careful study of both word and world." Stephanie Bolster
"Partridge is a technical wizard for whom thinking and feeling are not separate activities. She is a hawk-like observer of the particular . . . many times ascending to pitch-perfect verse." Globe and Mail