Written by Elise Partridge
Publication Date April 01, 2008
Chameleon Hours, Elise Partridge's follow-up to her much-admired Fielder's Choice (2002), is evidence that lyric poetry -- clean, bracing, unadorned -- truly can be equal to challenging subject matter. In these poems, love for friends, family, and partners, and most impressively, the urge to love strangers in need, kindles the fire of the voice. Partridge's poems see the world in its particulars, and offer a kind of fidelity to small and contingent details.
Full of wit and empathy, yet utterly free of the sensationalism that mars so much of contemporary verse, Elise Partridge's poems draw inspiration from sources as whimsical as snails and frogs, as poignant as a homeless woman taking shelter inside a post office on a winter night, and as deeply personal as her own cancer diagnosis at a relatively young age. Her poetry gives us a steadiness of vision, and reminds us we live among treasures.
Winner of the CAA Award for Poetry 2009
Short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize 2009
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.
"A strong tradition in poetry concentrates on the precisely detailed description of the natural world, with emotion seeming to come from the narrated, visual experience itself, rather than from the words that report it...In their ample, embracing, nuanced appetite for sensory experience, [Elise Partridge's] poems achieve an ardent, compassionate and unsentimental vision." Washington Post
"A thrilling, memorable volume." Robert Pinsky
"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
"Reading Chameleon Hours, I find myself marveling at the luck of each heron, mosquito, field of Queen Anne's Lace, each person, place, thing or circumstance in this beautiful book, to have Elise Partridge's exquisite and precise attention. And how lucky we are to get to listen in as she offers each of them her flawless ear." New York Review of Books