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Tuesday January 21, 2014 in Books


By Catriona Strang

Catriona Strang expertly “fabricates her own reality” in poems that explore the female condition and respond to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. In a powerful and rare display of poetic ingenuity, Strang situates classical themes of existentialism, memory, time, and the role of women in two clarifying contexts: the metaphorical mailbox of Proust and the speaker’s own body, as understood in geographical and geological terms.

we need
not gulf

nor gist-pierce
our place

whatever grip
or drib
we might
or mean

Dear Proust, / You’ve been dawning on me. Gradually, by the charm of all your explanations, our lives have come to be constituted through art. We have made several realities, far beyond the reach of terrible conservative eyes, which grow greater, or are illuminated. Consequence really lives thus, I mean all the time.

ISBN 13: 9780889228528 | ISBN 10: 0889228523
5.5 W x 9 H inches | 96 pp pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000
Paperback Edition


“In Catriona Strang’s poetry, the domestic sphere is comfortably private (spherically shaped) only because a globalized technological continuum of warfare and manufacture makes it so. Corked multiplies such contradictions. First-person pronouns are plural to their rhetorical core. Memory’s a possession to be rid of. Captain Picard, you and your Château Picard are put on notice: To explore the continuum, Corked turns domestic space into a foreign planetary body, and language into a Curiosity rover. Corked touches down through vast internal distances to find a spring of our condition – as seen from here, ‘the Strang terrain’ – in Marcel Proust. The super-fine instrumentation of these poems sends back big data on the intonational and rhythmical contours of intimacy undertaking to live in a continuous (relentless) present tense. Live it.”
– Louis Cabri

"One may be compelled by ‘Corked ‘ toward non-meanings, but not toward whatever-meanings. Meaning in this work results from an accumulation: of repititions, of contradictions, contraints, and intrusions, as in Proust. But there is no ambiguity."
Capilano Review

"The title piece, by contrast, juxtaposes letters to Marcel Proust with “tempered fragments”—individual poems with jags and glitches that represent “shaky transitory moments external to capital’s seemingly omnipotent pulse.” While these poems inevitably engage the Proustian theme of memory’s precariousness, they work hardest to advocate for the “unprofitable” and “unproductive” work of domestic life—the “weight women carry daily.”– Canadian Literature

“In Corked, Catriona Strang has written a miraculous book that is a poetic, political and affective constellation that recalibrates how a poem might work today as a representation of a moment that is both precarious and self-assured, contradictory and confident. Yet, along with its consideration of this ‘immobilized’ present, there is a compelling historical depth to this book built through an address to Marcel Proust. Strang uses the engagement with Proust as a ‘coincidental hook’ to make a powerful poetic report on ‘the current situation’ by looping it through other historical contexts. Strang lays out, carefully weighed syllable by radiant word, a terrain in which gendered and unpaid labour, resource extraction, off-shoring, and the calculation of value are counted and countered with recurrent struggles. From her early work, TEM and Low Fancy, through her collaboration with the late Nancy Shaw, with Corked Strang solidifies a unique position in Canadian poetry.”
– Jeff Derksen

About the Contributors

Catriona Strang

A founding member of the Institute for Domestic Research, and former member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, Catriona Strang is the author of Low Fancy and co-author with the late Nancy Shaw of Busted and Light Sweet Crude. Her collection of poetic responses to Proust, Corked, was published in 2014. She frequently collaborates with composer Jacqueline Leggatt and clarinetist François Houle. She lives in Vancouver, where she and her two kids are active in the local home learning community.

Reveries of a Solitary Biker

Catriona Strang

Corked cover

Catriona Strang

Copyright Talonbooks 1963-2018



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