Our National Poetry Month Celebration continues with Shannon Bramer.
Bramer’s recent book, Precious Energy, is a uniquely playful collection of vibrantly sad, peculiar, and often funny poems about domestic life, motherhood, and the baffled child that remains within us all even as we grow up and into whatever person we keep trying to become. Featuring a coterie of subjects, from fish sticks and LEGO pieces to mothers too tired to have sex and solitary swans in everyone’s basement, these poems dextrously navigate a landscape of domestic isolation, insecure attachments, and confused personal boundaries with honesty and unexpected humour.
“With this collection Bramer has redeemed modern poetry,” writes Andrew Kaufman, author of All My Friends are Superheroes and Small Claims. “Precious Energy is a must for anyone who has ever had their clothes drenched in a child’s vomit, seen their cell phone as the enemy, momentarily failed to recognize their lover or wondered what the point of all this is.”
Bramer reads “The Toy,” a poem from the collection, in the following video:
after Emily Dickinson
My life stood in corners until
you made us a new home
for playing. At first
I called you owner. You
scolded and commanded me
to be a real friend.
You took me to your room.
You took me to the woods.
You taught me to hunt
soft animals and turn all rabbits
into small coats for our cold hands.
Now I’m so obedient. I smile for you.
I guard your sleeping head.
We share a pillow. Your enemies
are mine. I had none before.
Even a flower
I could hurt now, for you.
Poet and playwright Shannon Bramer lives in Toronto. Previous collections of poetry include: suitcases and other poems (winner of the 2000 Hamilton and Region Best Book Award), scarf, and The Refrigerator Memory. She has also published chapbooks with above/ground press and Book*hug, and regularly conducts poetry workshops for students of all ages. Precious Energy is her first full-length collection in over a decade. Her next book, Trapsongs: three plays, is forthcoming from Book*hug in December 2020.