Lisa Richter’s Closer to Where We Began is a diverse collection of poetry that follows the speaker on a path of self-discovery. The collection navigates the tension between memory and imagination, between the personal and the political, and the primacy of sensual, sensory, lived experience. These dream-like poems not only concern themselves with the speaker, but with urban and natural environments, friends, family, and lovers, past and present. The poet explores overlapping/intersecting identities that shape and inform us, celebrating the importance of telling our stories as a means of bringing us closer to our authentic selves.
“Lisa Richter weaves time and place with grace and expertise throughout the poems in this her first collection, Closer to Where We Began. Sensual, delicate yet biting, these poems sweep forward and back with energy and insight proving ‘the heart is a finite muscle of blood and music.’ By following the rhythm of each poem’s unfolding we are led to a ‘deeper quiet.’ A rich and resonant book.”—Catherine Graham, author of Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects
‘”Invoke the light…” writes Lisa Richter, ‘the light that leaves nothing / in its wake that is cold or unkind.’ With a richness in metaphor and a clarity of vision, Richter deftly travels the reader through seasonal tapestries of nature, across many identities, into many cities, and inside the bounds of family. Yet losses, and the world’s coldness and cruelty are not ignored, but rather, their pains and truths explored poetically: ‘the tongue finds its muse in the most sour of ripenings.’ The confidence and tenderness of Richter’s voice, and her mastery of form, makes Closer to Where We Began a rich and compelling read.”—Maureen Hynes, author of The Poison Colour
“Richter excavates memory as a geography forged by the complexities of human relationships. To read her work is to be transported into an alternate landscape wherein each encounter has been dissected and reassembled with a simultaneously commanding and vulnerable acuity.”—Robin Richardson, author of Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis
“Richter’s first book traces an intimate diaspora… These are pieces of young mid-life when possibly a deeper consciousness of death and history twins with continued and reconfigured desires.”—Catherine Owen, Marrrow Reviews
“The poet admits rebellion… She is ‘Taking Stock’ of ghosts without stories… here are allusions to Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business and graffiti in Kensington Market; Where the Wild Things Are, poetry homage based on Evelyn Lau, Kate Braid, Theodore Roethke.”—Anne Burke, poets.ca
Photo by Matthew Burpee
Lisa Richter’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming in The Puritan, Minola Review, The Malahat Review, Canthius, and lichen, amongst others, and has been longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Closer to Where We Began is her first full-length collection of poetry. Lisa lives and teaches English in Toronto.