East and West

Laura Ritland

Awards: Nominated for the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Prize

East and West, Laura Ritland’s astonishing debut, is a book of visions. These are roving poems drawn to defamiliarizing points of view, and are exquisitely attentive to the way the world exceeds our senses (“Cloud deduced cloud / after cloud and cloud.”) Beckoningly tender, lucid and intelligent, elegaic without being maudlin, East and West explores what Ritland calls the “middle ground” of childhood, family, diaspora, and migration, and how new cultural ideas can disrupt traditional perspectives. “My bedroom window an escape hatch / to endless sights of coastal stars.” Ritland takes the measure of herself—“I’m an integer of my own society”—in one of the most distinctive and beautifully turned styles in Canadian poetry.

Signal Poetry
Poetry 2018


"In East and West, Laura Ritland (b. 1990) demonstrates technical sophistication and a fascination with the anxiety and disenchantment of young adulthood.... She is perpetually on the verge of something, and in moments of indecision she persists, observing, noticing. Ritland is, to resort to a cliché that she would forbear, a poet to watch. No—a poet to watch watching." - Nicholas Bradley, Canadian Literature

“What I love most in these poems is their insistence on being of two minds. There is such tension here between past and present, contact and isolation, heart and head, the resignation of our species to this current moment and its stubborn hopes for a future. What a smart, moving first
book!” – Julie Bruck

“A phrase maker of astonishing power, Laura Ritland’s subjects are civility, kindness, hysteria, the body, art and migration. An achingly elegiac work, East and West surveys the ruins of memory, family and selfhood, and draws out of them a poetic identity rooted in compassion and realism. This
book is magnificent.” – Richard Greene

In East and West, Laura Ritland deploys a penetrating wit, explosive technical prowess, and profound ability to discern the human truths within the muddle of the human condition. The cognitive leaps of this bold and beautiful book.” –Rhea Tregebov

Laura Ritland’s poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, CNQ, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Arc Poetry Magazine, and The Malahat Review. A recipient of the 2014 Malahat Far Horizons Award for Poetry, she currently divides her time between Vancouver and California, where she is a PhD student in English at UC Berkeley.
ISBN13: 9781550655032

CDN $17.95

Trade paperback
118 pp 8.5" x 5.5"
ISBN13: 9781550654967

CDN $17.95
US & International
US $14.95