House of Anansi Press

Dunk Tank

Written by Kayla Czaga

Published April 09, 2019 | ISBN 9781487005962
POETRY / Canadian

Cover of Dunk Tank

Regular price $19.95 CAD

96 pages | 8.5 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

About this book

Dunk Tank

Kayla Czaga

In the title poem of award-winning poet Kayla Czaga’s sophomore collection, the speaker is suspended between knowledge and experience — hovering there confidently before the world plunges her into the frigid waters of adult life. Czaga reimagines the body as a strange and unknowable landscape, full of cancers that “burst like blackberries;” a butt that could run for prime minister of Canada; and the Cerberus-like sultry eyes of Winona Ryder’s pores. In Dunk Tank, clouds become testicles and uteri turn into goldfish, flickering and fragile, but still ultimately glowing. These are poems of friendship, lingerie, sex, and longing. Not knowing how the world works, Czaga forges a landscape of metaphor and gleaming, dense imagery. Dunk Tank is playful and dark, comic and disturbing.

About the Author

Kayla Czaga

KAYLA CZAGA is the author of For Your Safety Please Hold On, which won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best debut poetry collection and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, among others. More recently, her poems have been awarded ARC Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year and been a finalist for both Rattle and the Walrus’s annual poetry contests. Dunk Tank is her second full-length collection.

Awards and Praise


Winner, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry
Finalist, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Finalist, Debut-litzer Prize

“Funny, smart, sophisticated, guileless: reading Czaga is like drinking a glass of water in a desert. Every once in a while there arrives a young poet whose astonishing aptitude for the craft rises so clearly, so beautifully, the relief is palpable. For Your Safety Please Hold On is Czaga’s answer to Moure’s Domestic Fuel and Solie’s Short Haul Engine . . . and like Moure and Solie we don’t need to expect great things from her. Great things are already here.” — Elizabeth Bachinsky, author of the Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Home of Sudden Service

“Kayla Czaga’s For Your Safety Please Hold On recalls what was radical about Robert Lowell’s Life Studies a half century ago. With wit and empathy, it moves beyond the confessional to reclaim the intimate and personal as an adventurous subject for poetry. Reading it is like being brought into someone’s home and told all the family secrets — never an imposition, it feels rather like an initiation into the clan. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” — Paul Vermeersch, author of Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something

“Kayla Czaga’s For Your Safety Please Hold On moves line by flawless line along an arc in | from broken bodies through re | construction into troubled and troubling metaphor. In this first collection, which offers the reader a growth project, a deeply embodied girl child and young woman meets her world (personal and literary) with sly and contemplative thought that experiments with itself. Czaga unfurls experience, observation and development with complexity and more than a little humour suspending a reader between this page's moment of assurance and the next moment's unsettling observation. This work is a thrill.” — Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Jury Citation