A Hat to Stop a Train

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By: Sheila Stewart

January 2003
88 pages | ISBN 0-919897-89-4

"Tight and tighter, the mother binding her daughter to her, the daughter binding the mother's aching legs. Sheila Stewart 'puts down words to get closer' to a mother whose ashes are away in Ireland, but she achieves much more than a remembrance – this is a collection of tight, spare poems laced with Celtic wit, wry and askance, and astonishing imagery for the complexities of family. Stewart has a confident command of poetic form, and these poems are honed sharp enough to prickle your eyes, startle your heart." – Maureen Hynes

"Stewart's living 'Mum's Museum' offers a gentle interrogation of family stories, probing between the sayable for what couldn't be said, for threads of dis/connection, glimpses of remembered feasts, 'dates dripping honey, slices of heaven, slivers of earth, promises.' A shy love song: a tender poetic debut." – Di Brandt

"Sheila Stewart traces and retraces the complex geography of grief until its contours come clear in these angry, loving poems of loss and reclamation." – Rhea Tregebov


Review (Jeffery Donaldson, University of Toronto Quarterly, 12/1/2004)
"Stewart's language is slightly more intense than the merely conversational, and while the language is not particularly eidetic in its impression, you appreciate its competent and earnest evocation."

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