In a media-saturated culture that worships fear and outrage, how can we talk about emergencies, both public and private, in a way that cuts through surface truths? Kilby Smith-McGregor confronts this question with a dizzying range of voices animated by desire, humour, pleasure and grief. This remarkable debut collection from the winner of the 2010 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award is richly nuanced, filled with poetry that strikes a balance between baroque elegance and haunting understatement.
"Smith-McGregor's Kids in Triage shows a bone-deep understanding of history, both personal and public. And yet the poet somehow balances the necessary emotional distance with empathy, tenderness and dark wit. Beyond that there's an obvious joy in the care that goes with good writing – gusts of cadence, fired language and glimpsed insight that left me breathless.”
– Gil Adamson, author of The Outlander and Ashland
"Amputation, spontaneous human combustion, shot nerves, the common bruise – Kids in Triage spans strata of material and metaphysical injury to provide a diagnostic manual for the mess of the human condition, ‘exception and rule.’ Voices arise out of black matter and pooling red, turning the screw toward emergency. Patients are many and resources few, and Kilby Smith-McGregor potently catalogues our desperation to cure illness, violence, the ache of being. But these poems don’t soothe or heal: her words embed like shrapnel, ‘shattered in some speaking accident.’”
– Brecken Hancock, author of Broom Broom