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Love and Loss, From Pelee Island to East Vancouver – Melanie Janisse’s Orioles in the Oranges

Guernica Editions invites you to celebrate the holidays this year by giving the gift of literature. With over 900 authors, Guernica is a diverse publisher of some of Canada’s finest poetry, fiction and literary criticism. We invite you to browse our selection of titles at your local bookseller, or online through Amazon or Chapters Indigo. We’re confident that you’ll agree there’s a Guernica book for every reader on your list!

Orioles in the Oranges

Orioles in the Oranges

Guernica’s literary gift idea of the day is Melanie Janisse’s Orioles in the Oranges, a collection of poems that tells the story of love and loss as they find common ground in a Metis legend and in modern times. The poems weave the contemporary voice of a young woman who finds herself on Pelee Island letting go of a lover with the telling of the Pelee Island story of a Metis woman who plunges to her death in Lake Erie after being abandoned by her English husband. The narratives dovetail, and grapple with the pull of physical and psychic places that we all find in the experience of finding and losing love.

“In this brutally honest debut collection, Melanie Janisse crafts a slow-boiling Southern Ontario thunder to accompany the reader on an emotional migratory path from the delicate swamps of Pelee Island to the vast mud flats of East Vancouver and the hardened, concrete points in between. Janisse’s clean and powerful language dredges Lac du Chats for all that’s been lost – intentional or otherwise. With astonishing honesty and compassion, Orioles in the Oranges seems to suggest that home is not a house, nor a people, but the series of landscapes that envelope us and call us back over and over again.” (Dani Couture)

“Melanie Janisse’s Orioles in the Oranges is the work of a soldier of romance. In a language that enchants as it haunts, Janisse presses herself against the velocity of fate and refuses history’s slide into remoteness. Hers is an act of rebellion. She resurrects ancestral ghosts with an archivist’s precision, a mourner’s yearning, a sensualist’s care. She takes lives into her hands – both to examine their ends and to insist on their beginnings.” (Claudia Dey)

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