Mood Swing, with Pear
Signature Editions, 2016
Mood Swing covers a range of territory—bedbugs in New York, an art gallery in Toronto, a public library in Halifax, and, as usual for MacLeod, a touching down in Cape Breton. In a selection of found poems, chess pieces provide an “An Introduction to Heroics” and a pottery book yields erotic instructions. The long, final poem is an elegy to an upstairs neighbour.
“ Sue MacLeod’s poems ... dance down and across the page. In turns playful and deadly serious ... Macleod’s poetry finds strength in the personal. Poems like “The aunts & the uncles, they wouldn’t sit still for their pictures but I caught them anyway,” “Through the swinging door,” and her long poem at the end of the book, “Where the sound comes through,” touch the reader, and are like “this gift they left you / that you never / asked for. ”
That Singing You Hear at the Edges
Signature Editions, 2003
Two of the poems in That Singing won national prizes: Arc’s Poem of the Year award, and Second Prize in the League of Canadian Poets’ national contest. The poems range from homages to Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop to moments of playfulness and humour, to a full section, “the gathering up of each wave before its breaking,” set in Cape Breton.
“ I wandered around town quoting her poetry out loud to myself until I noticed how many people crossed the street to avoid me while I joyfully muttered, ‘We were Olive Oyl/ We were Popeye, too.’ You can read the poem as well, but I warn you, Sue's book is aptly named: her poetry becomes that singing you hear at the edges. ”
“ ... a poet wonderfully adept at teasing the numinous out of ordinary circumstances. ”
—Robert Moore, Winnipeg Free Press
“ This is poetry we need more of. It is emotional without being maudlin; rejoicing in the particular pleasures of language, yet it remembers language's human core. ”
—Martin Wallace, The Malahat Review
“ ... the familiar, comforting twang of a hurtin' song (if country singers had post grad degrees). ”
—Richard M Vaughan, The Fiddlehead
The Language of Rain
Roseway Publishing, 1995
This debut collection is about love and loss, about being a daughter, a mother and a young woman. In the opening poem, “What the Dog Dreams,” observations of a family pet spin out to thoughts about evolution. Because of this book, MacLeod was chosen as Halifax’s inaugural Poet Laureate and shortlisted for the Milton Acorn People’s Poet Award.
“ A remarkable body of work ... personal, intelligent, often humorous ... MacLeod weaves a masterful juxtaposition of images. ”
—Collette Saunders, The Pottersfield Portfolio
“ ... a cherishable, necessary book, one fit to tote everywhere and quote to all and sundry. ”
—George Elliott Clarke, The Mail-Star