FLOAT AND SCURRY
In Float and Scurry the ordinary world turns hallucinogenically marvellous and mad. Overheard spats, insomniac dreams, postpartum despair, eighties TV—Heather Birrell stirs her cauldron and ladles out some powerful bad medicine. Drink it down and prepare for bedazzlement.
-- Sarah Henstra, Governor General’s Award winning author of The Red Word
Heather Birrell has an uncanny ability to read my mind, or perhaps – as Float and Scurry illustrates – I am not alone in seeing the beautiful in the mundane, or the purely ordinary in flights of fancy. Here, the anxiety of modern life goes hand in hand with humour and a battered but undaunted hopefulness, capturing the deliciousness of an inner life, either sleepwalking through dreams, or in the day-to-day pageant of our many masks. Knowing I had such a canny and capable tour guide, this book was a rabbit hole I was glad to dive into.
-- Ronnie Burkett, puppeteer, Officer of the Order of Canada
Like any blizzard, “Snow Day Poem” works by a steady, unrelenting accretion. The poet presents a flurry of what-ifs, worries, woes, and whimsy mirroring the absurdities that wrack the cabin-fevered mind. Beguiling and playful, with precise cadence and diction, the speaker of “Snow Day Poem” has personality, making wry observations of a world “gone all bridal” in mid-winter.
-- Kevin Shaw, judge’s notes on Arc Poetry Magazine’s poem of the year shortlist
In acclaimed short-fiction writer Heather Birrell’s rollicking debut full-length poetry collection, Mr. T, Joni Mitchell, Fidel Castro, and the poet’s mother (among others) barge in to distract and derail the poet’s dreams. The poems in this book are playful, hallucinatory, and often funny. They explore the far-fetchedness and perseverance of love between friends and family members, the importance of libraries and locked mental health wards, and ways to live with meaning in the face of a looming apocalypse.
Birrell’s poetry lines-weaving through an acrobatic breadth of forms and tones are both precise and plainspoken, and showcase an odd, intuitive logic, embracing the surrealism of this world we’re stuck in.