Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Featured Poetry: Two Hemispheres by Nadine McInnis

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Featured Poetry: Two Hemispheres by Nadine McInnis

Imagining the lives of nineteenth-century women asylum patients, Nadine McInnis charts her descent into, and recovery from, depression.

In the afterword to Two Hemispheres, McInnis describes her first encounter with the remarkable photographs that illustrate this moving volume. Patients of the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum, these women’s names and stories are lost to history. McInnis imagines their experiences of mental illness as she explores her own journey through clinical depression, and finds in these haunting photographs solace and community.

I used to embellish an impressive picture
of the woman whose palms
I mysteriously possess, describing her
right down to her mismatched shoes:
her gait, stiff and shuffling, from nights spent
sleeping under the bridge near the off-ramp,
her hair, a tanled nest of leaves and dead grass.
-- from "Entertainment: a dramatic spectacle"

Nadine McInnis is the author of six other books, including Quicksilver (short stories), Hand to Hand (poetry), and Poetics of Desire: Essays on Dorothy Livesay. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Event, and Room of One’s Own. She lives in Ottawa where she teaches in the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin College.