Salt and Ashes by Adrienne Drobnies

Salt and Ashes is one of those rare collections that astounds with its intensity and depth of emotion, without once sacrificing intellectual discipline and rigour. The long poem that forms the heart of the book, “Randonnées,” is a masterpiece of precision and intimacy.”

— Evelyn Lau, Tumour, A Grain of Rice, and Living Under Plastic

“In her stunning debut collection of poems, Drobnies observes ‘thoughts do not follow a mathematical order.’ Nor do feelings. As she dissects the visceral yet exquisite dilemma of how grief dismantles the narratives of our lives, we look over her shoulder, feel the shiver, and see anew.”

— Betsy Warland, Oscar of Between

Winner: Fred Kerner Book Award 2020 (Canadian Authors Association)

Judges’ Comments:

“A scientist mourning her husband in poetry is the heart of this extraordinary collection. Here is loss, lament, longing in elegiac measure. Deeply moving in the way that only very truthful poetry moves, Drobnies makes us walk with her, move with her, and share her sorrows and still fresh joys, as she trains our eyes on what we might never otherwise see but for her gift. In accompanying her, we receive a finer understanding of intimacy, grief, wisdom, freedom. A book-length haiku. Fearless, revelatory, packed full with love.”

“Salt and Ashes is a fearless, intimate, deeply affecting indelible debut collection of love, loss, longing and healing that unsettles, untangles, astounds and enlightens, lingering in the mind and soul long after Drobnies’ final poignant words are read.” 

Longlisted for Fred Cogswell Award 2020

Review by John Swanson here in The British Columbia Review

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