Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

What (Bronwen Wallace)

BOOKS:
Marrying into the Family (1980)
Signs of the Former Tenant (1983)
Common Magic
(1985)
The Stubborn Particulars of Grace (1987)
People You’d Trust Your Life To (1990, reprint 2001)
Keep that Candle Burning Bright and Other Poems (1991)
Arguments with the World (1992)
Two Women Talking: Correspondence 1985-87, Erin Mouré and Bronwen Wallace (1993)

“If Alice Munro wrote poetry, you feel, this is what it might sound like.”
Dennis Lee

AWARDS:
She received the National Magazine Award, the Pat Lowther Award, the Du Maurier Award for Poetry, and the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (regional, UK).

The Bronwen Wallace Award was awarded for the first time in the poetry category on May 26th, 1994 in Kingston, Ontario. It alternates between poetry and fiction and is awarded to a Canadian writer who has not yet, by the age of 35, been published in book form.

Some of my Favourite Passages from People You’d Trust Your Life To:

Now, I think maybe you never get over anything, you just find a way of carrying it as gently as possible.
Heart of My Heart (Katherine)

And yet the strange thing is that Lydia doesn’t feel unhappy. It’s just that enjoyment seems too flat, too smug a word.
Chicken ‘n’ Ribs

…[Lydia] enters the small pause where everyone seems to be waiting for her.
Chicken ‘n’ Ribs

It was like I just discovered something, and, at the same time, discovered that I’d known it all along, so that it started to dawn on me that I could never stop knowing it again.
Fashion Accents (Brenda)

Despite my high marks and thin chest, I was destined to have as normal a life as any of us do. It was just that the way Stella talked to me made it seem suddenly possible, really possible, for me to see myself actually having such a life.
Fashion Accents (Brenda)

Like statistics and social theory, they have little to do with a person’s real life. The history that matters is the history we can use.
If This is Love (Lee)

I guess I saw her as a victim of her own life, forced into it because she hadn’t been smart enough to plan ahead. I never even considered then that she might see me in the same light.
For Puzzled in Wisconsin (Anna of Gwen)

Just because I understand doesn’t mean it doesn’t poke at me, niggling and sore, like the pea under all those mattresses in the fairy story.
For Puzzled in Wisconsin (Anna, of Peter’s lack of imagination)

She knows this is something that really happened – though she hasn’t thought of it in years – but she can’t tell now whether it was part of the dream or not. What happens next is that she puts her hand to her face and feels tears there, still wet, on her cheek.
Back Pain (Barbara)

Though she knows it. As she knows her own smell. As she knows how to lie there, holding her child in her arms, letting her shoulders ease themselves into a position they can keep for hours if they need to, relaxing into it, trusting it to be enough. Not for good, certainly, but at least for now.
Back Pain (Barbara with daughter Kate)

Anger and tenderness. That she can feel so many conflicting things, that she can know so little about anything she feels and still manage to appear a competent adult. Sometimes it scares her. Knowing there’s no end to feeling like this, ever.
An Easy Life (Marion)

It made me queasy, like the chocolate bars I smuggled into my room and wolfed down before I fell asleep at night. It made me sick, the thought of it, the thought of married life.
Tip of My Tongue (Lee)

She held her right hand, back out, in front of Myrna’s face. The raised white scar ripped across it from the base of her thumb to the base of her ring finger.
People You’d Trust Your Life To (Gail)

…you’re a [bank] teller ‘cause you need the money, right? But these photographs are your real work. This is what you love.”
The Scuba Diver in Repose (Jimmy)

And I began to see that very often people were most themselves when they didn’t look it, when they were unrecognizable in all the usual ways.
The Scuba Diver in Repose (Jill)

And the baby lying there lighter than you’d think, given the space she’d taken up on the inside and at the same time so heavy, so much weight Lillian could barely hold on.
Lillian on the Inside

Lillian and the little girl on the pink street at this hour, flying towards each other, their faces holding, exactly, and only for a second, the same expressions of sorrow and amazement.
Lillian on the Inside

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