Oh, happy day! My copy of the Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete has arrived.
The book is as beautiful as I had imagined it complete with a golden piano on the cover (design by David Drummond).
You can order the collection world wide from your favourite independent bookstore or directly from McGill-Queen’s University Press. Enjoy and may we soon meet in person in the real world.
You travel only with the clothes you’re wearing on the night ferry from Athens to Crete.
Thyme clings, high / and away from the grazing and scents / the air.
Island life carries on while a beautiful woman lies in a coma surrounded by friends and lovers.
Island reality is interconnected with live-retrieved memories in which a nurse follows a violent patient into the northern Canadian bush, a migrant mother faces her new job as the village butcher, an Ojibway man is forced to walk a dangerous route home alone, teenagers loot the local dump to build their mother’s wheelchair, and an electrician watches a woman play a grand piano on a ballfield.
A (re)creation of the surreality and altered time within deep states of grieving, Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete juxtaposes sorrow with fragmentary unapologetic joy. Eleonore Schönmaier forges compelling symphonic resonances between European musical encounters and a northern working-class childhood. By centring her experiential empathy on a history of racism and poverty, she guides us into better ways of being. Intimate reflections are contrasted with geopolitical and environmental concerns as Schönmaier’s fierce intelligence focuses on what is most essential in our lives.
The arc of this collection offers a rejuvenating meditation on the meaning of loss and love, highlighted by the lyric beauty of the writing.
“These are understated poems grounded in imagism, snapshots of a life, where the poet speaks quietly to her reader with precision and insight.” Armand Garnet Ruffo, author of Treaty#
“Spanning continents and decades, the poems in Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete bear witness to beauty, pain, and injustice alike. Meditative and musical, Schönmaier’s verse renders the world in vivid, attentive language.” Annick MacAskill, author of Murmurations