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The Brazilian man

May 29th, 2023

Leesa Dean of Krestova, BC became so taken with a figure in an Elizabeth Bishop poem—a Brazilian man named Manuelzinho,“the worst gardener since Cain”— that she mined words and images from Bishop’s body of work in order to create a larger world for him to occupy. The result is The Filling Station (Gaspereau $22.95), a lyrical novella-in-verse drawn from Bishop’s lexicon in which Manuelzinho takes a wife (and a lover), has a daughter, and grieves his dying father. Shifting from rain-soaked villages to the barren, haunting landscape of Itabira, this novella is an example of poetry’s capacity for encapsulating human experiences—love, time, memory—and for reanimating those experiences in the reader’s imagination. Dean is an instructor at Selkirk College and her books have been reviewed by the Globe & Mail and Quill & Quire, and her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the 2017 Trillium and Relit Awards and the 2022 Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize. Her debut fiction collection is Waiting for the Cyclone (Brindle & Glass, 2016). 9781554472437

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