Designated Mourner is a collection of elegies for an unconventional spouse and artistic collaborator, lost to addiction at a young age. These poems keen on the page, tracing tenderness and sorrow while raging against his night.
Well crafted and intimate, Designated Mourner engages with a range of forms. It is timely as grief is a misunderstood and often shunned emotion in North American society, as is drug addiction. The poems allow emotion while never losing their aural power.
Catherine Owen is the author of nine collections of poetry, the most recent being Trobairitz, Seeing Lessons, Frenzy, and the chapbook Steve Kulash & Other Autopsies. Her collection of memoirs and essays is called Catalysts: confrontations with the muse. Frenzy won the Alberta Book Prize and other collections have been nominated for the B.C. Book Prize, the ReLit, the CBC Literary Prize, and the George Ryga Award. Owen lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Published: April 2014
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
"Grief is a challenging subject at the best of times, but Owen manages to deftly sidestep the temptations to idealize or to wallow. Presented utterly without irony, these poems are tender and sweet, yet never become cloying…Designated Mourner is raw emotion beautifully wrought, and I wept openly as I read." —Broken Pencil
"In her capable poetic hands — Owen is author of nine books of verse and criticism — emotions find crystalline expression and these pieces attain indelible life for their deft separating of what is truly important from the emotional chaff that occupies a typical life." — Vancouver Sun
"In the vein of Carol Ann Duffy's Raptures, Designated Mourner tenderly surrenders Owen's emotions and vulnerability to the page." — Quill and Quire