Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric

Aether CoverCatherine Graham has created a luminous homage to family, to cancer and to the strange windings of truth. Swimming through time and space, Graham introduces her mother, her father and herself and the cancers that pull them apart and bring them together. Memories mesh with visitations and multiple stories unfold of pain and loss, hidden tragedy, forgiveness and growth. With an otherworldly delicacy Graham stitches it all together to create a book-length lyric essay of lingering and profound beauty, a paean to the complexity of love and survival.

“Catherine Graham’s seventh book of poetry is an intricate reverie, in poetry and prose, which floats back and forth in time and between memories, dreams and reflections . . . Graham is an accomplished lyric poet.”
 — Barb Carey, Toronto Star

“This might be shelved in poetry, but it’s essay and mystery and grief and healing and love too. Graham has a spiraling way of writing that is mesmerizing. With each revisit of a fact or feeling, more is revealed. Everything about this book is perfect – word choice, pacing, even the presentation on the page.”
 — Jennifer Geraedts, Beagle and Wolf Books

“In the lyric essay Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric, Catherine Graham explores how a cancer diagnosis can change a family forever. Æther is about Catherine, her mother and her father, as this disease turns their life upside down and they grapple with the grief, pain and loss that comes with cancer, but also with the joy, forgiveness, strength and growth.”
 — CBC Books

Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric is a deeply moving account of coming to terms with personal loss and an intelligent, sensitive probing of the creative process.  What was glimpsed in The Celery Forest and embellished in Quarry is here in new forms and fresh angles. It’s a seamless blending of memoir/autobiography with poetry. Accounts of loss and grief, marginalisation, and self-acceptance are stitched together via a spine of recurrent images—birds, deer, quarry, cancer cells—and rich, vibrant vocabulary. It illustrates how, through writing painful experiences, trauma may be ‘owned’ and redirected into nurturance, creativity and a gift to readers. A gorgeous achievement.”
 — Kathleen McCracken, author of Double Self Portrait with Mirror: New and Selected

“Death may have found Graham as a key theme in her writing but the way she has dealt with it brings a sense of glory and light to the terrain of love and familial bonds that I have rarely seen on any page.”
 — Mel McMahon, author of Beneath Our Feet

Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric appears on the 40th Shelf Most Anticipated Spring Poetry Preview and What We’re Reading: Editors’ Picks, Hamilton Review of Books.