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Vixen by Sandra Ridley

Vixen by Sandra Ridley

Winner of the 2024 Pat Lowther Memorial Award

Poetry
Publication Date: October 24, 2023
72 pages
5.75 x 8.75 inches
Paperback
ISBN 9781771668569

Trade Paperback
$20.00
(In stock)
Epub
$14.99
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Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Sandra Ridley offers a breathtaking, harrowing immersion in cruelty behind different veils: the medieval hunt, ecological collapse, and intimate partner violence.

Sparked by a haunting chance encounter with a fox, and told in six chapters of varying form, Vixen is as visceral as it is mysterious, sensuous as it is terrifying.

“Thicket” introduces us to stalking being akin to hunting; the similar threat of terror and—too often—a violent end. “Twitchcraft” locates the hunt in the home, the wild in the domestic, while “Season of the Haunt” explores the unrelenting nature of hunting. “Stricken” asks common questions that often implicitly justify such violence: Is the harassment ‘bad enough’ to allow us to label it criminal? Has all control been taken? Is the fear reasonable?

Vixen propels us to examine the nature of empathy, what it means to be a compassionate witness, and what happens when brutality is so ever-present that we become numb. This is a beautiful, difficult, wild tapestry of defiance and survival.

Press Coverage

“Ridley has always worked with the structure of the long poem, and this collection further highlights an ongoing attention to lyric and structure… And yet, her poems also give the sense of a lyric folded over and across itself, lines that collect and impact upon each other from a multitude of directions and into a singular, polyphonic voice. This is a stunning collection, and deserves to be win every award.” —rob mclennan

“In four distinct sections, Ridley skilfully uses various forms, white space, and imagery to widen the dialogue and explain the toll endured (‘even if you live the consequences outlive the duration of harassment’) and the desire to take back your rights and what’s right (‘you want to walk alone day or night’).” —Wanda Praamsma, Toronto Star

“For all that the speaker in Vixen exposes and understands cruelty in many guises, whether it is imposed on animals or on humans, Ridley’s vision from the outset is bent toward empathy and compassion: ‘Unto the ends of the earth —/ if an end will come for us, let it befall.// The end will come to pass. // The ends of knives, the ends of staves, the ends of traps.// Imagine that.’ Here is hope and challenge: not for a world wherein violence never was, but for a world in which we choose to end it; not for pacification, but for peace.” —melanie brannagan frederiksen, Winnipeg Free Press

2023 Fall Preview: Poetry, Memoir, Biography —Quill & Quire

33 Canadian Poetry Collections To Watch For In Fall 2023 —CBC Books

Most Anticipated: Our 2023 Fall Poetry Preview —49th Shelf

Best List of 2023 Canadian Poetry Books —Dusie

Bearing Witness in Vixen: An Interview with Poet Sandra Ridley —periodicities

“Sandra Ridley’s Vixen is a brilliant, tightly woven text that explores the paralleled devastation wrought by the fox hunt, intimate partner violence, and environmental collapse. This book-length poem weaves across the page in varying forms, dodging and looping back on itself, much as the titular vixen does in her flight from the hounds. In its carefully crafted linked narratives, Vixen renders us invested observers and asks complex questions about the nature and obligations of witnessing.” —2024 Pat Lowther Memorial Award Jury Citation 

About the Author

Sandra Ridley is the author of four books of poetry: FalloutPost-ApothecaryThe Counting House; and Silvija, a finalist for the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize. She has won the bpNichol Chapbook Award, Saskatchewan Book Award for Publishing, the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, and the Toronto International Festival of Authors’ Battle of the Bards. Additionally, she has been a finalist for the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award, the Ottawa Book Award, the Archibald Lampman Award, the ReLit Award for Poetry, and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. She has also been nominated for the Ontario Arts Council’s KM Hunter Artist Award for Mid-Career Writer and for the Ottawa Arts Council’s Mid-Career Artist Award. Ridley has taught poetry at Sage Hill Writing, Carleton University, and has had the honour of being a mentor with Ottawa’s Supportive Housing and Mental Health Services “Footprints to Recovery” program for people living with mental illness. An audio performance of her chapbook “Lift” was presented on CBC’s Sound Exchange. Her work has been anthologized and translated into German and French. Sandra grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and lives in Ottawa.