Winner of the 2018 Archibald Lampman Award
A charm can protect, inflict or influence.
Charm, the second collection by poet Christine McNair, considers the craftwork of conception from a variety of viewpoints—from pregnancy and motherhood, to how an orchid is pollinated, to overcoming abusive relationships, to the manual artistry of carving a violin bow or marbling endpapers.
Through these works, McNair’s poetic line evolves as if moving in a spellbound kaleidoscope, etched with omens, fairytales, intimacy’s stickiness, and the mothering body.
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Praise for Charm:
“McNair’s Charm is unyielding. Replete with precision, elegance and power, an attentive intensity thrives in these poems. She is fearless in her examination of how impermanent objects are treated – of how we ourselves are objects. What lingers is a provocative sensuality, preserved from intimacies, inherent vices, destructive influences, harms, and decay. Her Charm is stunning and alchemical.” —Sandra Ridley, author of Silvija and The Counting House
“Christine McNair’s Charm is a textile bracelet stitched together with a gasp an echo a tune that will catch at your pumpernickel heart. Jubilantly sample the starched linen and cloth pages as these poems embolden you to bite into its promiscuous orchids and chew on the enchanted, hanked-tone stanzas.” —Nicole Markotić, author of whelmed and Bent at the Spine
Press Coverage for Charm:
“Charm is carefully crafted, stitched together just-so in a way that is not necessarily simple, but oh so satisfying and utterly engaging.” —Contemporary Verse 2
Poetry Must-Reads for Spring —49th Shelf
Mother Stories: New books from Spring 2017 that explore mothers and their relationships —49th Shelf
Christine McNair on How Life Events Impact Writing & the Seismic Effect of Great Books —Open Book
“Charm is a skillfully crafted collection and will surely captivate any lover of language.” —Megan Callahan, Vallum Magazine, Issue 14:2
“Charm is a spell-caster of vivid turns and angles, whirling with McNair’s clever, dark humour. In this volume, she visits with a macro theme of care – for children, objects, and bewitchingly, language. It’s the vehicle of language, books, that reaps a compelling amount of attention.” —Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Poetry is Dead
“McNair uses a fragmentary, fractured line and crashing repetitions to suggest conception as a craft of its own sort of traumatic work.” —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
“Christine McNair, tackles subjects of conception, from literal pregnancy to the more figurative conception of art. The poems hover around an overarching theme of making and unmaking, but their expansiveness allows for each to remain distinct and precise.” —Andrea MacPherson, Canadian Literature
Archibald Lampman Award Jury Citation for Charm:
“Christine McNair’s second collection, Charm (Book*hug, 2017), brings dignity and awe to sensuality and impermanence. Fragility is experienced as strength as she examines motherhood, marriage, women’s bodies, alongside a longing for sovereignty. Both decay and intimacy reverberate throughout the collection, with deft, inventive and provocative uses of language and syntax. In Charm, McNair shows us unique truths in unexpected and mesmerizing ways, compelling our attention again and again.”
Christine McNair is the author of Conflict (BookThug, 2012; finalist for the City of Ottawa Book Award, the Archibald Lampman Award, and the ReLit Award, and shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry) and pleasantries and other misdemeanours (2013; shortlisted for the bpNichol chapbook award). Her work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, Descant, Poetry is Dead, Prairie Fire, and other places. McNair lives in Ottawa, where she works as a book doctor.