Cover: Quiet Night Think: Poems & Essays by Gillian Sze

Quiet Night Think: Poems & Essays

Sze, Gillian

  • Quiet Night Think is a stunning work.” — Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

    “One function of the poet at any time is to discover by his own thought and feeling what seems to him to be poetry at that time,” writes Wallace Stevens. In Quiet Night Think, award-winning poet Gillian Sze expresses her own definition.

    During the remarkable period of early parenthood, Sze’s new maternal role urges her to contemplate her own origins, both familial and artistic. Comprised of six personal essays, poems, and a concluding long poem, Quiet Night Think takes its title from a direct translation of an eighth-century Chinese poem by Li Bai, the subject of the opening essay. Sze’s memory of reading Li Bai’s poem as a child marks the beginning of an unshakable encounter with poetry. What follows is an intimate anatomization of her particular entanglement with languages and cultures.

    In her most generically diverse book yet, Sze moves between poetry and prose, mother and writer, the lyrical and the autobiographical, all the while inviting readers to meditate with her on questions of emergence and transformation: What are you trying to be? Where does a word break off? What calls to us throughout the night?


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  • Gillian Sze is the author of multiple poetry collections, including Peeling Rambutan, Redrafting Winter, and Panicle, which were finalists for the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. She resides in Montreal, where she teaches creative writing and literature.

  • Published: April 2022

    ISBN: 9781770416253

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 104

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Quiet Night Think is a stunning work. Gillian Sze has ‘the acrobatic ear’ and a generous mind. To be a mother, a daughter, a writer, a self — through reflection and poetry, essay and remembrance, these fragile threads carry one another in profound, transporting ways. I know I will return to this extraordinary book again and again.” — Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

“There is a lot of learning to be had from Quiet Night Think. Sze offers valuable observations and methods of practicing writing in her essays, and then presents the results of those in her poems. The way the essays and poems speak to each other in this collection is stunning.” — The Fiddlehead

“Anyone with an interest in translation, in the poet Li Bai, and Tang poetry more generally, will need a quiet night think with “bed front bright moon light” (3) to read and reread this work.” — Canadian Literature

“In providing this space, Sze allows us to come to our own conclusions, to take part in the making of meaning and transform in our own ways, rather than telling us exactly what to think. All of this makes the collection an excellent companion for our own quiet nighttime contemplations.” — Canthius Review

“Sze draws on emotion-imbued imagery from nature, daily observations and intellectual investigations, punctuated by intimate, often heartrending glimmers that captivate all the way to the book’s end.” — Montreal Review of Books

“A highly accomplished, beautifully modulated, hybrid collection of meditations, essays and poems.” — Quebec Writers’ Federation

Quiet Night Think by Gillian Sze is a collection of finely observed poems and invitingly associative essays, in which Sze muses on language, translation, and individual words.” — Poetry Foundation

“Sze’s meditations are delicate, thoughtful and raw, articulating the complex experiences and emotions around new motherhood.” — Rob Mclennan’s blog