After celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, I’m feeling very thankful, indeed, to have the support and enthusiasm of so many PQL friends and fans. Seriously. You are all awesome.
Another thing I’m thankful for is to have the great privilege of publishing the work of Shane Neilson, an acclaimed poet and physician who has just recently been honoured with the prestigious SSHRC Talent Award. We are pleased and proud to have published three books of his poetry with us, which he likes to call the “Affect Trilogy”.
Complete Physical, On Shaving Off His Face and Dysphoria each consider what Shane characterizes as a “relational emotional force”, and address challenging issues such as pain, dis/ability and the stigmatization of mental illness.
When asked to speak about the trilogy as a set, Shane pointed to two of the major themes that overarch his work—pain and disability—and points out evidence of his own growth as a writer:
[With] Complete Physical … I tried to write a book about the kinds of emotional work done by doctors and the cost of that emotional work. Included in the manifest were poems about pain, mostly because I consider pain to be a unique medical condition that combines both physical and emotional components as an experience. I was a younger man when I wrote this book, an angrier one…. I had to evolve—bringing me to my second book, On Shaving Off His Face. This text thinks through the iconography of the face in mental illness, and it also contains poems about pain…. One can detect a book-to-book shift from pain-as-anger to pain-as-sadness, meaning I was growing both as a writer, person, and doctor…. In Dysphoria, I wanted to make love the reason that pain exists in the first place because that’s a simple truth that authors much of the history of pain.
An important objective of the affect trilogy was to destigmatize mental illness and persons suffering from mental illness. My first step was to declare my identity as dis/abled person, thereby doing the work of representation that is perhaps the first cultural step to change…. I became more interested in everyone and everything else and trying to fit that everyone and everything into the poems that appear in On Shaving Off His Face…. In [Dysphoria] the final volume of the trilogy, I decided I wanted to not think of the past as it relates to the present but also to write out how disability itself is an author.
If this sounds like the kind of poetry you would like to experience, we’re giving you a chance to do just that! Enter to win below:
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The winner will be contacted by email.
Thanks for helping us to congratulate Shane on his award win. We wish you luck in winning this awesome book bundle!