49th Shelf Most Anticipated 2014 Fall Poetry Selection
In what can be described as a verse-novel for its lyricism and rhythmic structure, Wanda Praamsma crafts a story that transcends geographic boundaries and time periods, by weaving together lives from her own family’s past, including her poet-grandfather and sculptor-uncle. Subtle in its life lessons, a thin line between works at ‘peeling away the I’s’ to explore concepts of self and family in flux. What emerges is a poignant, and at times humorous, portrait of a Dutch-Canadian family and a close look into a young woman’s exploration of her own being and creative life.
Praamsma’s writing draws comparisons to popular Canadian writers like Elizabeth Bachinsky, Phil Hall, and Daphne Marlatt, and will appeal to readers in their 20s and 30s who are coming to terms with issues of parenting and family, as they negotiate the spaces for their own individual lives and their creative selves.
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Praise for a thin line between:
“Few books are so gracefully themselves: a thin line between accomplishes an atmosphere that seems enigmatically familiar, complex and unassuming. It is, in part, an intimate and oblique portrait of a major Dutch poet, but even more so, it’s an exploration of how we should live. The doors in this poem lie between inner and outer worlds, family members, places, life and art—and the speaker’s curiosity and candour leave them wide open.” — Sadiqa de Meijer
“Mixing shapes, genre and line break into a multi-layered poem (long poem and dozens of little poems), a thin line between is within and without, it opens like a door, and moves through family, love, ‘the mysterious he,’ language, and all those other lives we have lived. It conveys the beauty of crafting our own selves, edits and all, and asks the questions: ‘What is this place I come from?’ ‘Where is it I am going?’ and most importantly, ‘How am I going to write about it?'” — Katherena Vermette
“Conversational, associative on many levels, Wanda Praamsma’s long poem pulls a reader in to what is both said and unspoken. a thin line between probes the dualities of resemblance and difference, here and there, leaving the door of her heart ajar in its testing of interconnections within this highly creative Dutch family.” — Daphne Marlatt
“a thin line between balances the intimacy of personal narrative and memory with a sweeping meditation on experience and language. By reflecting on the relationship and inherent tensions between ‘without’ and ‘within,’ it locates the hidden pause within even the most fleeting, seemingly ordinary, moments.” — Johanna Skibsrud
“a thin line between lives up to [its] promise — it has plenty of fizz.” — The Toronto Star
“It is [a book] about following lines — of heritage, of thought, of desire — and where those lines might lead.” — The Kingston Whig-Standard
“Wanda Praamsma uses short narrative events from her life to encapsulate moments as though they were short sequences from dreams we are familiar with. There are often two narratives and two voices juxtaposed, but because they ring true, as personal and universal, so ‘family,’ they resonate, hard, with the reader.” — Today’s Book of Poetry
Wanda Praamsma grew up in the Ottawa Valley in Clayton, Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in Ottawater, 17 seconds, and Feathertale, and several literary non-fiction pieces have appeared in The Toronto Star, where she worked for several years as an editor. She has worked, studied, and lived at various points in Salamanca, Spain, Santiago, Chile, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and has travelled to many places in between and beyond, including Cuba, India, and the Balkans. Praamsma currently lives in Kingston, Ontario. a thin line between is her first book of poetry. Find Praamsma at www.whywandawrites. com, or connect with her on Twitter @wpraamsma