Books

Neile Graham's poetry is breathtaking and stern, abducting her audience into a realm of disturbing yet beautiful detail and experience.

—Bumbershoot Arts Festival Schedule

She Says: Poems Selected & New (CD)

She Says CD cover

She Says: Poems Selected & New, a spoken-word collection of me reading my poems (with the assistance of Tamar Boursalian), was first issued by Alsop Review Press (32 tracks) in 2007. After the press closed, I reissued the CD with 33 tracks:

  • 18 from Blood Memory
  • 5 from Spells for Clear Vision
  • 2 from Seven Robins
  • 7 from The Walk She Takes (unpublished manuscript)
  • 1 from Cedar and Stone (unpublished manuscript)

Sample poems: The five tracks from Spells for Clear Vision are available on YouTube.

Available in CD-R format for the cost of postage: email.

Blood Memory

Blood Memory cover

Blood Memory (BuschekBooks, 2000) is a cycle of dramatic monologues and lyrics that celebrates women's stories.

This is rich stuff, daring both rant and rhapsody, crafted with much imaginative skill. The book is arranged in all sorts of interesting, challenging designs.... Graham creates a lovely blend of urgency and subtlety making many of the poems not only page turners, but something to savour as well. Her descriptions always stretch out expectations with just the right lilt, the perfect detail...I love how intensely she leads us into greater and greater complexities, history and mythology and the most secretive parts of the heart all colliding in a grand burst of energy...the page lighting up like a meteor shower.

—Barry Dempster, Arc magazine

Imagine compressing the history of woman into poetry. ... Blood Memory is a true tour de force. ... Using every poetic "colour" imaginable, Blood Memory paints vivid pictures of generations of women, past and present. Pictures that will remain in a reader's mind, long after the book's covers are closed.

—Ronnie R. Brown, Canadian Bookseller magazine

Neile Graham skillfully and lyrically guides the reader down the path of the past to the present...the collection reads like a richly assembled quilt. ... Blood Memory is an eloquent and dramatic look at the cycle of life and the vision and circumstances that tie women together and divide them from themselves.

—Deena Lewis, LitRag

The stories are distinct, original. The manner in which they are woven together allows the individual pieces in the collection to not only function alone, but to further resonate in and with the accompaniment of the rest. The voices become a conversation, they speak to (and of) each other. The effect is stunning.
     As the cycles in the book--the "Remnants" poems, the "Story" poems, and especially the "Mairie" poems--swirl across and around each other, the cumulative effect is startling. Graham approaches the everyday experiences of her voices, her speakers, and illuminates them. She allows us access to the wonderful subtleties that define and differentiate individual lives. The pieces in Blood Memory lament, interrogate, and, finally, celebrate the various lives and voices of the women with whom they deal. They do so in a subtle, yet distinct, poetic style.

—Matt Robinson, League of Canadian Poets Poetry Spoken Here

Sample poems: download Lucidity, a PDF flyer of poems from Blood memory.

Available in paper only at Chapters !ndigo, amazon.ca, amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. Contact me for signed copies.

Spells for Clear Vision

Spells For Clear Vision

Spells for Clear Vision is poems about learning to see and make sense of the world. It was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award for the best book of poetry by a Canadian woman.

Neile Graham goes beyond the clarity of vision of good poetry and achieves the insights hidden in the appearances of ordinary things. This book is truly a work of visionary brilliance.

—Steve Cross, Staff Favorite Notice Card, University Bookstore

When reading Neile Graham's Spells for Clear Vision, one feels in the presence of a poet who has the rare talent of integrating private experiences (or public ones filtered through the personal eye) with powerful language.

—Stefan Haag, Canadian Literature

In the pure exuberant joy of her words we find the "gathered magic" of the physical world. Her descriptions are startling... and at times their lilt is almost Shakespearean.... She uncovers the hidden world of the tentative yet inevitable, the passage of weather and seasons, which seem to echo the persistence of memory itself. ...This is a luminous, almost visionary book, a treasure to be read and re-read.

—Sandra Nicholls, Arc magazine

...a distinguished collection, with considerable range in theme and style.... Her diction is always straightforward and her meanings are clear but her work is not superficial. ...All in all this is indeed a collection of "spells for clear vision."

—Bert Almon, Canadian Book Review Annual

The poems do cast spells—not of incantation but of consequence; not of recipe and formula, but of affect and transformation... although Spells is couched in mysticism, it is also the poetry of everyday life, and a celebration of the magical forces therein.

—Liam C. Rodrigues, Canadian Review of Materialse

In this deeply moving book with its riveting and refreshing timbre, its epiphanies and magic, the natural forces of air, fire and water play centre stage. The sagacious voice of the poet needs no fancy strategies; her humble luminosity and chaste style make these poems a pleasure to read. Her faith and acts of devotion fire in us the exhilaration of being addressed by great poetry, of dancing in a rhythmically formed world. With Graham's Spells for Clear Vision, Canadian poetry is enriched by a beautiful homage to impassioned writing and a praise for our natural abode.

—Liliane Welch, The New Brunswick Reader

Sample poems: download Midfire, a PDF flyer of poems from Spells for Clear Vision.

Available in paper and Kobo and Kindle ebook formats at Chapters !ndigo (Kobo format), amazon.ca (Kindle format & paper), amazon.com (Kindle format & paper), and Barnes & Noble (Kobo format ebook). Contact me for signed copies.

Seven Robins

Seven Robins cover
Seven Robins is about growing up in the Pacific Northwest and about relationships with other people, with nature, and with wonder.

...A sensitive first book; the poet communicates her intense rapport with nature with insight and perception, and she gives us a sense of history, the "long slow motion of time" that we are all part of.

—N.M. Drutz, Canadian Book Review Annua

When one reads Neile Graham's book Seven Robins... there is [a] sense of darkness, mystery, and intelligence that can shed light on the most shadowy recesses of the natural world and the self. ...If the landscape is harsh, so are the dynamics of human relationships, and Graham writes of them in bracing, vivid poetry... indeed, Ms. Graham offers her readers "window into several worlds;" and in each case, the view is exciting. Neile Graham is a poet worth watching and reading...a poet of technical polish, literary skill and much personal intensity.

—Kevin Irie, Event magazine

Her poems, exciting in their precision of diction and imagery, speak of silence.... Graham's power lies in her ability to trace language within the silence that permeates her world.

—Smaro Kamboureli, Canadian Literature

Ms. Graham's work is unusually intelligent and courageous. Seven Robins is a gift for which we should be grateful.

—Bette Thiebes, CutBank

Sample poems: download Heart of Stone, a PDF flyer of poems from Blood memory.

Available in paper only at amazon.ca, amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. Contact me for signed copies.

chapbooks

Unfortunately, both of these are currently out of print

Sheela-Na-Gig

Sheela-Na-Gig cover
Sheela-Na-Gig is a 20-page chapbook of poems published in a limited edition of 150 copies by Reference West in February 1995.

I call this my angry women collection because of the 10 poems included, 6 are dramatic monologues in the voices of women from various times and the other four are about similar women/experiences. Most of the poems in this chapbook are also in Blood Memory.

Sample Poems from Sheela-na-Gig
How to find copies
There are a few copies still available at Hawthorne Books in Victoria, B.C., and they can be ordered from Reference West, 2450 Central Avenue, Victoria, B.C., CANADA V8S 2S8. The University Bookstore has a couple of copies, or email me if you want to arrange to send me a check for a signed copy, or simply send a check for $10.00 (list price, I will cover postage and handling) to me at Neile Graham, P.O. Box 30187, Seattle, WA 98113-0187, U.S.A.
Publication info
Sheela-Na-Gig by Neile Graham. ISBN 1 895362-80-6. $10.00

Published by Reference West, 2450 Central Avenue, Victoria, B.C., CANADA V8S 2S8, 250-598-0096.

Travelling in Place

 Traveling in Place cover

Travelling in Place> is a 24-page limited-edition chapbook I did in conjunction with Harold Rhenisch in 1980. My section is entitled Talismans; Harold's is The Millwheel.

These are very early poems from both of us. Almost all of my poems here appeared later in Seven Robins, though sometimes in a slightly different form.

How to find copies
Unfortunately, this chapbook is long out-of-print: