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The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand

The Poetry of M. Travis Lane

By M. Travis Lane
Edited by Jeanette Lynes
Subjects Literary Criticism, Canadian Literature, Poetry
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9781554580255, 102 pages, November 2007
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587377, 102 pages, February 2010


You Want Your Truths Told of You by E. Travis Lane

You want your truths told of you—

those wavery lines!

Each pencil mark's a fiddlehead

unfolding to an island of wild fern,

of alders, grass, of willow trees,

of sharp dams in the silty sand

where a barefoot girl stands

to watch a cattle barge

rock, like a cradle in the wind.

She can not tell them where she stands,

her nude toes turning blue as clams

in the murky water where it chafes

the green facts into islands—

shoals, reefs, whirlpools, naked trees

scoured by the ice.

Her plain nouns bell their inner folds

like a coiled spring uncoiling

or like eggs

that tremble in her hand and beat

their shells with razor bills and spread

out wings.

Their shadows cast on the millstream float

on spinning water for all time,

never entirely truthful.

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane, selected with an introduction by Jeanette Lynes

Foreword | Neil Besner

Biographical Note

Introduction | Jeanette Lynes

The Talisman



The Song of Lot’s Wife

A Stone from Fundy

Well, Viewed by the God


Red Earth [excerpt from “Divinations,” Book Two]

Walking Under the Nebulae

The Weight of the Real

The House as Sculpture as Chapel as Priest

Six Poems on a Sculpture by Ülker Özerdem

For the Cenotaph, November 11, 1983



King’s Landing

The Gift from the Bad Fairy


The Horn That Is So Difficult to Play

You Want Your Truths Told of You


Local Suite

About the Size of It

Half Past


There Are Real Ants in the Metro

Strive for a Deep Stillness

Dusk Sequence



Keeping Afloat

The Soloist



For You

Afterword: Those Mysteries of Which We Cannot Plainly Speak | M. Travis Lane



The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane is a collection of thirty-five of her best poems, selected with an introduction by Jeanette Lynes. An environmentalist, feminist, and peace activist, M. Travis Lane is known for witty and meticulously crafted poems that explore the elusive nature of “home” in both historical and present contexts and reflect on the identity of the woman poet and what it means to be a writer. Lane’s poems exhibit impressive range and variety—long poems, short lyrics, serial poems, poems inspired by visual art—and are richly attentive to the landscapes, both urban and wild, of her New Brunswick home. They voice a sense of urgency with respect to ecological crises and war; her poetic attention fixes unwaveringly on the smallest pebble on the coast of Fundy but is equally attuned to global patterns of destructive domination.

In her introduction “As Opportunity for Grace, This Life May Serve”, editor Jeanette Lynes discusses how Lane’s poetry integrates an ecopoetic vision with explorations of the artist’s task of mapping her world. Lane’s afterword reinforces her sense of the poet’s project as a form of mystical play, a search for patterns in the “unified disunities” of all things.


``The aspect I admire most about this selection is the sheer range of Lane's imagination. ... Wisdom is found in abundance in this collection. ... There are two quotations from the afterword that sum up for me the experience of reading M. Travis Lane. `Mystery, I think, is the cheif subject of poetry' (77) and `a poem is not a message, but a sharing' (79). There is a seeking spirit moving through these poems, and readers will be grateful for what it shares. ''

- Ian LeTourneau, PoetryReviews, September 2009

``Excellently selected and edited by Jeanette Lynes for the Laurier Poetry Series, this tidy text renders Lane's oeuvre accessible to new readers. ''

- Kit Dobson, The Dalhousie Review

``Lane's work is comprehensive and thorough with lively images, deep and passionate feeling, provocative thought, and comfortable strength. ... Lane. .. says `poetry is a pleasure with the sound of meaning. ' Her work is indeed a pleasure, and it is further pleasure to have it published in the Laurier Poetry Series. ''

- Michael O. Nowlan, The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton, NB), January 19, 2008

``Lane presses the belief that the key to significant action is the relinquishing of ego [in her] in a brief but inspired afterword. ''

- Paul W. Harland, Journal of Canadian Poetry

``[A]s someone who only discovered Lane's work with Temporary Shelter in 1993, I appreciate the opportunity to read earlier poems and to glimpse the chronological evoluation of her craft. ... Even though this book is aimed at students as well as general readers, with its useful introduction and generous Afterword, in which we meet the poet stepping outside her craft to say what is and has been important to her, the beating heart of it is of course in the poems themselves. ''

- Barbara Myers, ARC Poetry Magazine, 60, Summer 2008

``Lane's poems are regularly capable of disarming their readers with what Jeanette Lynes--in her introduction to the book--calles a ‘willingness to let the odd, the quirky, the eccentric, sing’. The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand exults in a wilderness that is. ..not always interpretable or scriptable by humanity. ..Lane's poetics connote a. ..deferral of. ..ego to the uninterpretable natural world. ''

- Owen Percy, The Goose, 4:1, Fall 2008

``The quest for a wider audience for poetry may be quixotic, but this series makes a serious attempt to present attractive, affordable selections that speak to contemporary interests and topics that might engage a younger generation of readers. Yet it does not condescend, preferring to provide substantial and sophisticated poets to these new readers. At the very least, these slim volumes will make very useful introductory teaching texts in post-secondary classrooms because they whet the appetite without overwhelming. ''

- Paul Milton, Canadian Literature, 193, Summer 2007