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Winner of the 2016 Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry!
When a Christmas Eve shooting devastated Emily Pohl-Weary’s community, she began to hunt through the numbness and grief for some understanding and hopefulness about the future. In the tradition of Carolyn Forché, Ernesto Cardenal, and Shu Ting, Ghost Sick is a poetry of witness. It chronicles the impact of violence on an inner-city Toronto neighbourhood, the power of empathy, and the resilience of the human spirit.
“A hard, sad, and beautifully necessary collection of poems. A book that helps us claw our way back from the edges of our own teetering lives.”—Susan Musgrave, author of A Man to Marry, A Man to Bury
“Ghost Sick focuses on violence and its personal cost in a Toronto neighbourhood, starting from the writer’s childhood to the present, the wasted lives, the pain and loss of her own and those of people dear to her.”—Marge Piercy, New York Times bestselling author of Gone to Soldiers
“These are not easy poems to forget, so take a deep breath, and plunge right in. The world will not look the same when you re-emerge, but the rewards are immense: you come away from these poems open to possibility, hopeful for change, and knowing you are not alone in that struggle.”—Carolyn Smart, author of Hooked
“Pohl-Weary’s gritty vernacular got game, got street cred. Like Holocaust witness poet Paul Celan, Pohl-Weary checks tabloids, billboards, newsflashes, for the language to bespeak domesticated violence.”—George Elliot Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
“The poems in Ghost Sick coalesce into a very strong, coherent collection that should be read from cover to cover . . . this is a book that looks forward towards a better city, better citizens, and a better society.” —Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, Broken Pencil
“Ghost Sick takes your breath away and leaves you wanting more. A great read that makes you think about what it means to bear witness to tragedy.”—Christine Smith (McFarlane), Shameless Magazine
“A nuanced, wrenching and ultimately heart-opening poetry collection that took eight years to write—nearly a decade of trying to grapple with the shooting death of a young man in her Parkdale neighbourhood.” —Yukon News
“Ghost Sick by Emily Pohl-Weary is a collection of poems that witness. They are testimony, commentary, and emotional responses to the crime, drugs, loss of innocence and more in a Toronto neighborhood and other places where lives are wasted and lost too easily.”—Serena Agusto-Cox, Savvy Verse and Wit
Emily Pohl-Weary is an award-winning author, editor, arts educator, and academic. She is the author of several books, including the novels A Girl Like Sugar and Strange Times at Western High; the young adult novel Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl; the poetry collection Iron-on Constellations; and the biography Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, which won a Hugo Award for Best Related Book.