Excerpt


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Praise for The Clichéist

This writing is driven by an underlying, ineffable vitality, a legitimacy — a sense that the words are locked inexorably in place and the poet knows it.
—Books in Canada

Reading Amanda Lamarche’s poetry, the slow burn of language gathers in us. Here’s grace, wit, wisdom, courage — what more could we ask for in a poet?
—Rhea Tregebov

These shape-shifting, quick-witted poems resonate with the energy of their making; the opening section, “A Book of Fears,” is one of the most compelling groups of poems I’ve read in a while. Amanda Lamarche puts both feet into the chilly waters of intuition, and she does so with levity and grace.
—Stephanie Bolster

You know you are in for a wonderful set of poems when the first poem causes your heart to skip a beat … There are no clichés in The Clichéist.
—Hannah Main-Van der Kamp, BC Bookworld

Amanda Lamarche's book is called The Clichéist, a title that's not merely wry, but chances to name one of poetry's difficult and essential projects … The book's first section, “Book of Fears,” corresponds in content and structure to many existing lyric-poem phobia series … Here, readers are introduced to Lamarche's capacity for teasing the humour, menace and tenderness from under the skin of relatively mundane images through diction and syntax that's both artful and playful … The final, title section … in which clichéd phrases—“Sleep With the Fishes,” “No Man is an Island,” etc.—are annotated by stories that seem both to have generated an instance of the cliché and been generated by it. The poems are cast in lines fragmented down the page, a kind of deconstruction of the founding principle of the cliché. Lamarche is good at this form; the poems read more interestingly for it.
—Karen Solie, Event

… Lamarche portrays rural subjects whose verbal world is hard-edged, pocked with profanity, scorn-inflected and zigzaggedly musical. Here we find stories of smokers and drinkers, hunting town edge-dwellers, fishing dock sitters, rural inhabitants whose evening stroll might get them mauled by a bear.
—Margaret Christakos, ARC

… there are lines and images throughout the book that peel away a part of the ordinary world and reveal it as new … There is a familiar and yet utterly strange intimacy in [Lamarche's] words that I particularly admire."
—Heather Jessup, Malahat Review

Accomplished and confident … Lamarche says it with style. This is an exceptionally strong first book.
—Andrew Vaisius, Prairie Fire