COLLECTED POEMS: THE IF BORDERLANDS
AVAILABLE NOW FROM NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS POETS SERIES
REVIEW BY KJERSTIN KAUFFMAN IN LITERARY MATTERS 11.1, FALL 2018
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been as riveted by a poetry collection as I was by The If Borderlands. Elise Partridge’s work is mostly new to me, but it possesses such meticulous, formally attentive understatement, such a range of subject matter, and such philosophical curiosity and wisdom, that it is surely the equal, to my mind, of poetic thinkers like Clampitt, Bishop, and Schnackenberg.” more
CIRCUITRY OF THE SNOWFLAKE: REVIEW OF THE IF BORDERLANDS BY FLORIAN GARGAILLO IN THE DUBLIN REVIEW OF BOOKS
"A patient and meticulous observer of the world’s phenomena, both natural and human, [Elise Partridge] is often rightly compared to Elizabeth Bishop, with whom she shares a care for precision, fact and detail, as well as a profound sense of play." more
REVIEW BY CHRISTINA PUGH IN LITERARY MATTERS
"Throughout her life and work, the poet Elise Partridge impeccably, and often heroically, maintained twin commitments. One of them was to the minute textures and resistances of language, and the other was to the value of selection in the poetic process. The If Borderlands, her collected poems, is a testament to those values." more
"ELISE PARTRIDGE PRODUCED BREATHTAKING POETRY" -- ELLE MAGAZINE:
The If Borderlands brings together the three volumes Partridge published with smaller Canadian presses (an American-born poet, she lived for years in British Columbia), plus some uncollected work. It's an astonishing book that should secure Partridge some readers outside the mossy parapets of the poetry world."....more
FROM THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS CLASSICS' WEBSITE:
Elise Partridge, who was born in the United States but spent her adult years in Canada, wrote three books of poetry that were widely admired for their meticulous, glittering craft and scrupulous truth-to-life. A poet of family and friends, of nature, of the daily round, of illness, who documented an early bout with and treatment for cancer with an unsparing but stoic clarity, Partridge was, as Rosanna Warren has said, “a poet of brilliant precisions. Each line represents a new glinting angle of thought...The result is an art of eerie compassion and an almost hyper-realist perception of the small.”
This new collection includes all the poems that Partridge prepared for publication during her lifetime as well as a selection of poems that were left in manuscript at the time of her death.
In their ample, embracing, nuanced appetite for sensory experience, [Partridge’s] poems achieve an ardent, compassionate, and unsentimental vision.
—Robert Pinsky, The Washington Post
Partridge’s impressive poems pursue a careful thinker’s yearning for abandon, a loyal friend and partner’s wish for change. Attentive to fact, to what she sees and knows, Partridge nonetheless makes space for what is wild, outside and with us—for the fears and the blanks of chemotherapy, for sharp variations within (and without) frames of meter and rhyme, and for the welcome consistencies of married love. She has learned detail work, and patience, from Elizabeth Bishop, but she has made other virtues her own: riffs on familiar phrases open startling vistas and even her love poems get attractively practical. Hers is a welcome invitation: let’s listen in.
OTHER PRAISE FOR ELISE PARTRIDGE'S WORK
“There is no cynicism or pretension here, only the authenticity that comes from careful study of both word and world.” — Stephanie Bolster
“Partridge is a technical wizard for whom thinking and feeling are not separate activities. She is a hawk-like observer of the particular . . . many times ascending to pitch-perfect verse.” — Ken Babstock, Globe and Mail
"Elise Partridge is a poet of brilliant precisions. Each line presents a new, glinting angle of thought. [Her] poems — good, tangy and chunky on the tongue — somehow reflect life's plenitude while maintaining their own spareness and balance. The result is an art of eerie compassion...." — Rosanna Warren
“A fully formed voice speaks in these poems that invite us to share their closely observed particulars — a hospitable voice, full of intelligence, good humour, candour, engagement. Each poem commands attention. Exemplary.” — Robyn Sarah, National Post
“Unfeigned passion . . . thrilling, memorable.” — Robert Pinsky
"Elise Partridge, whose Chameleon Hours records the author's near brush with death, [offers] both a benevolent and a meaningful response to the threat of extinction. Mostly, Partridge records her horror obliquely and with considerable humour." — Patrick Warner, Riddle Fence
"Partridge's adjectives bristle with life from page one ... [she] has a knack for creating resonating, symbolic, and yet gently strange images." — Jana Prikryl, Books in Canada
“First rate . . . a true heir of Elizabeth Bishop.” — James Pollock, poetryreviews.ca
"Elise Partridge's Chameleon Hours deserves the praise it has received on both sides of the border. It is compelling, richly observed, meaningful and exquisitely crafted. Partridge manages to make passionate art from the threat and trauma of grave illness and the possibility of losing one's life." — Barbara Myers, Arc
"She is a force that Canadians cannot afford to ignore any longer. . . . There can never be any question . . . of Partridge's labour, her determination of will, the fastening of the will to the poet's task. And together with an incredible distinction of craftsmanship, of mastery and devotion to the form, Partridge's poetry also features the successful integration of demotic language, such that these poems can be enjoyed both for their use of form and for their enjoyment as ordinariy life-affirming poems." — Jason Ranon Uri Rotstein, Canadian Literature.
“Reading [Partridge's work], I find myself marveling at the luck of each person, place, thing, or circumstance, to have Elise Partridge’s exquisite and precise attention. And how lucky we are to get to listen in as she offers each of them her flawless ear." — Jacqueline Osherow
“Elise Partridge brings the most mundane moments vividly to life.” — Vancouver Sun
POEM "THE EXILES' HOME GALLERY" FEATURED IN BEST CANADIAN POETRY 2016
Guest edited by Helen Humphreys, this ninth edition of Canada’s vibrant yearly anthology features the fifty finest Canadian poems published during 2015. Available here.
THE EXILES' GALLERY (AVAILABLE HERE)
ABOUT THE EXILES' GALLERY (Listed as #25 on the National Post's list of the Best Books of 2015)
Widely praised for her engagement and her attention to craft, Elise Partridge's The Exiles' Gallery confirms her standing as one of the most thoughtful, authentic voices in contemporary poetry. The poems in her third collection continue to explore what she has called "implicit questions about fullness of life or lives somehow thwarted, diminished or ended too early." Through formal technique, painterly detail, or her signature compressed directness, Patridge's poems explore the past, present and future with compassion and grief, bearing witness to our not-so-still, all-too-brief lives.
Above all, The Exiles' Gallery is a book of celebration. In these restless, nimble, and complex poems of apprehension -- whether by a candid glance backward at childhood or through tributes to friends -- Patridge's arresting images and diction give shape to the complexity and abundance of experience, made more luminous and gilt-edged by the corridor of encroaching shadows. Dispossessed but defiant, these are songs of preservation and love.
THE NATIONAL POST LISTS THE EXILES' GALLERY AS #25 ON ITS BEST BOOKS OF 2015
In her final book of poems, Partridge’s inspired diction and generous appraisal of life in all of its terrible brevity is a masterstroke ending to a beautiful career. Having finished these poems shortly before dying of cancer, the straightforward poet writes about the terrible darkness with a remarkably guileless lack of cynicism. See list
NEIL SURKAN REVIEWS THE EXILES' GALLERY IN THE PURITAN
Partridge's assortment of subjects comes together in an idiosyncratic but intimate way, like lingering in an expertly curated room. Her final offering is a fragile web of relationships between people, places, objects and memories, held together by love in the face of death. As such, The Exiles' Gallery is a subtly courageous final collection...more
QUILL AND QUIRE GIVES "RECOMMENDED" STAR IN ITS REVIEW OF THE EXILES' GALLERY
...the profuse skill in these poems denies the claim to amateurism. Within her stanzas, Partridge frequently uses a structural form of internal and end rhyme that denies conventional definition – what might be dubbed the Elisian stanza. These formal constraints, combined with fresh description, fashion The Exiles’ Gallery as a poets’ poetry collection, infused with both an appreciative eye and sorrowful surrender...more
ABOUT ELISE PARTRIDGE
Elise Partridge was born on November 19, 1958 and died on January 31, 2015.
Tributes to her and her work can be found here. Following are some articles that appeared at the time of her death about her and her work:
Elise asked that any contributions in her memory be given to one of the following entities:
The Elise and Stephen Partridge Fund of the New York Community Trust, "to be used for the arts, educational opportunities for girls and young women, and gay rights." Donations should be payable to "The New York Community Trust" with "Elise and Stephen Partridge Fund" also written on the check and then mailed to The New York Community Trust at 909 Third Avenue, NY NY 10022.
The British Columbia Cancer Foundation. Checks should be made out to the "British Columbia Cancer Foundation," marked "In memory of Elise Partridge," and mailed to 150 – 686 W. Broadway,
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1G1. Donations can also be made online here.