Karen Solie was born in Moose Jaw and grew up on the family farm in southwest Saskatchewan. Her first collection of poems, Short Haul Engine , won the BC Book Prize Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, ReLit Prize, and the Griffin Prize. Her second, Modern and Normal , was shortlisted for the Trillium Poetry Prize and included on The Globe and Mail's list of the 100 best books of 2005. She's served as writer-in-residence for the University of Alberta and University of New Brunswick, and has served on poetry faculties for the Sage Hill Writing Experience and the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2007, she was one of the judges for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologized in Canada and the U.S., and she is a three-time finalist for a National Magazine Award. A third collection, Pigeon, is due out in April from House of Anansi Press. She lives in Toronto.
Off-season brings rain and new life
to old habits. Whatever it is that we're doing, we can't help
wanting to. Roadside attractions of the great southwest
are nothing without us. The World's Largest animals,
vegetables, minerals, fade and fall over as junk
beside our beloved minor highways, and the Four Aces
in Kingman, Arizona, having suffered the attentions
of the Board of Health, has closed its doors
for good. I'm telling you,
if you believe it's worse never to have tried,
then you haven't really tried.
Though the evidence might confirm a deeply
historical lack of judgement, it's possible,
in the echoey solitude that is resolve's aftermath,
to venture out into the hour of diminishing contrast,
under the cautionary perfumes of the chocolate bar factory,
with the intent to do no harm. The honourable life
is like good timing. One might not have the talent for it.
Take this guy up ahead who's driven 45 minutes
with his turn signal on through this jurisdiction of few exits,
as if the hope of a left is all he's got now
in his one chance on this earth.