Subduction Zone

Cover image: Subduction ZonePublished by Pedlar Press, 2014

Winner of the 2015 Environmental Creative Writing Book Award from the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment

Judges’ comments: “McGiffin’s poetry startles and provokes, even as it pleases and draws the reader in. Impressively, she takes on subject matter as immense as empire–its power over us yet vulnerability to self-destruction–and makes it vivid, personal, and immediate.”

Subduction Zone is a book of meditations on empire — the desires and agendas of empire, and empire’s detritus. From a sweeping panorama of imperial landscapes both classical and modern, it carries us into the troubled natural beauty of the world. Its third and final sequence brings Canadians home, to the manifestations of global technocracy in northwest BC.Whether contemplating rain forests in the Visayan Islands or Edward Burtynsky’s photographs, these poems gaze unflinchingly at the exploitation and upheaval that define several millennia of global politics. Their questions are both urgent and intricate. Who are we individually, collectively, in this era of looming ecological collapse? How do we acknowledge the blood on our hands yet bear witness to the beauty that remains? Subduction Zone is a collection of great integrity and ambition: trenchant, political, shot through with ravishing eroticism and tenderness. Emily McGiffin is poised to become one of the major voices in Canadian poetry.


Book Addiction: “You know what? Enough with my recent anxieties about my approaches to poetry: I loved Emily McGiffin’s Subduction Zone.”

The Goose: “Spare, untitled stanzas that evoke arpeggios of rain, broken wings of moths, and the farewell songs of cranes.”

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