Jane Munro is a Canadian poet, writer and educator.
Jane Munro’s prose memoir is Open Every Window (Douglas & McIntyre, 2021). Her most recent poetry book is Glass Float (Brick Books, 2020). Munro’s sixth poetry collection Blue Sonoma (Brick Books) won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her previous books include Active Pass (Pedlar Press), Point No Point (McClelland & Stewart) and Grief Notes & Animal Dreams (Brick Books).
Open Every Window: A Memoir
BC Booklook article about the memoir
Award-winning poet Jane Munro recalls the slow-motion ordeal of losing her husband to dementia in this frank memoir. The book isn't only focused on the yearslong period of his illness. Munro touches on her own life — early childhood in Vancouver, marriage, children, divorce, a failed romance and her life with Bob, who was 20 years older and in his 70s when the first signs of dementia appeared. Her life takes a back seat throughout Bob's illness as she copes with grief, frustration and the endless demands of being a caregiver. Self sacrifice may be praiseworthy, but it's Munro's determination to reclaim a part of herself that is inspiring.
—Pat St. Germain
The pain experienced as a loving relationship is forced to transform is at the core of Jane Munro’s memoir, Open Every Window. With an honest and generous spirit, Munro shares her personal journey of caring for her husband, Bob, after he is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
—Andrea Geary, Winnipeg Free Press
Open Every Window is a genre-bending prose account of the unravelling of a life—two lives—when Jane Munro’s husband Bob is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Evoking Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, this memoir charts a path through sorrow—the pain of seeing a partner age and approach death, the exhaustion of caretaking, and the regret in seeing life’s scope narrow and diminish. Written with courage and love, Munro grapples with what it means to care for a husband who is gradually but devastatingly deteriorating. Her identity as a writer, yoga practitioner, mother and grandmother, are all eclipsed by a single word—caregiver. Even a doctor admonishes, “What job could be more important than caring for your husband?” In this portrait of the myriad lives contained in a single life, Munro ultimately finds respite in the power of writing, and in the rhythms of the moon—not to heal but to allow her to face grief without breaking.
“Munro’s lyric prose is lit from within. A remarkable memoir, both fresh and graceful.”
—Jan Zwicky, author of Songs for Relinquishing the Earth
“With characteristic clarity, honesty, and restraint, Jane Munro unveils the extraordinary devotion of women to parents, children, husbands, families, to everyone but themselves. Open Every Window reminds me of Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women as it charts the socialization of girls over a lifetime. When does one yield to expectations? When must one resist? Never a word wasted, never an extraneous detail, Munro reveals the conundrums, self-denial, the invisible labour of women in all their roles. She writes with insider knowledge of the conflicts women face as they try to preserve a life of their own. The lingering beauty of Open Every Window is the revelation that a single life can hold so much more than one life.”
— Ian Williams, author of Reproduction
“Jane Munro's memoir is a jewel: spare, bright, and sharp, effortlessly elegant, and illuminated by love’s many facets.”
—Annabel Lyon, author of Consent
Jane Munro won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2015
As if “a voice spoke her name and woke her,” Jane Munro’s new poems are openhearted, yet quick and taut, with a playful – even biting – wit. How can Blue Sonoma be so elegant, so apparently simple, when each poem is a tinderbox?
— Anne Simpson on Blue Sonoma
What contracts and what expands in grief and where does one go when there is no escape from the self?
…. Glass Float is an ocean of insight bombs.
Micheline Maylor on Glass Float
More About Glass Float
Review of Glass Float by Marguerite Pigeon in League of Canadian Poets
Munro is back with Glass Float (Brick Books, 2020). Her tools are new: narrative and diaristic series interspersed with flashes from the biographical past. But Munro has the same ambition to summon meaning from the jumble of experience.
Review of Glass Float by Kim Fahner in periodicities : a journal of poetry and poetics (rob mclennan)
Jane Munro’s Glass Float is a book that almost seems to float easily and beautifully in either air or water, taking readers on a voyage around the world, but also on a journey that leads us more deeply within ourselves as we read through the poems. She sets the tone with her epigraph, using a quotation from David J. Chalmers, who has written: “Conscious experience is at once the most familiar thing in the world and the most mysterious.”
Review of Glass Float by David Starkey, California Review of Books
Glass Float, Jane Munro (Brick) “Art is suggestion,” the poet remembers being told by her grandfather, “art is not representation.” That distinction holds true throughout Glass Float, and yet Munro is fiendishly good at describing things, in particular a yoga retreat in India not long after the death of her husband. The book ranges from prose poem sequences to the cryptic and beautiful lyrics for which she is best known. Always, though, Munro’s poems enact the advice of one of her yoga teachers: “Shine like a full moon without dispelling the dark.”
Featured in FreeFall Review
Memoir Panel Discussion With Jane Munro (Open Every Window), Ian Williams (Disorientation: Being Black in the World), and Mary Fairhurst Breen (Any Kind of Luck at All).
Jane reads her poem “Break the Fear” from Glass Float.
Jane, a dedicated yogi and noted poet, was inspired by her studies in Pune. Listen below as she shares some of her reflections with us…
“Receive Your Face” from Glass Float.
"Receive Your Face" published in Inyengar Yoga Newsletter Winter Spring 2021
Poetic Justice New Westminster
November 14, 2021
A virtual reading
July 21, 2021
London (ON) Word Fest - Jane Munro & Penn Kemp in Conversation
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Lunch Poems at SFU presents Sonnet L'Abbé & Jane Munro
September 16, 2020
Victoria Festival of Authors Poetry Podcast
September 30, 2020
Jane Munro reads from Glass Float at the Art Bar Poetry Series.
Victoria Festival of Authors
Jane is interviewed by Susan Braley, a Victoria poet.
Jane Munro is a Canadian poet, writer and educator.
Jane Munro’s newest book, a prose memoir, is Open Every Window (Douglas & McIntyre, 2021). Her sixth poetry collection Blue Sonoma (Brick Books) won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her most recent poetry book is Glass Float (Brick Books, 2020). A Sally Port (Espresso Chapbooks) - short prose pieces about her childhood - came out in 2018. Her previous books include Active Pass (Pedlar Press), Point No Point (McCLelland & Stewart) and Grief Notes & Animal Dreams (Brick Books).
She is a member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko’s Dogs (Mary di Michele, Jan Conn, Susan Gillis, Jane Munro) who have published Whisk (Pedlar Press), Rhinoceros (Gaspereau), and Caution Tape (Collusion Books).
As well as working as a writer, Jane has been employed as a professor of Creative Writing at several universities in BC, done educational planning, research and administration, taught many informal writing workshops, and read her poetry to audiences in a wide variety of venues across Canada. She has also given readings in Ireland, the USA, Italy, India and Egypt.
For more than twenty years, she has studied (in Canada and in India) and practiced Iyengar Yoga.
In 2012, she moved back to Vancouver – where she grew up and raised her children – after spending twenty years living at Point No Point in a rural area on the coast of Vancouver Island. Although BC has been her home base, she has lived in the USA and Turkey, traveled extensively in India and in Europe, and been to South Africa and Egypt.
Born (Patricia Jane Southwell) in Chilliwack BC, she was educated at UBC (undergraduate, M.F.A., Ed.D.), Indiana University (B.A.), and SFU (M.A.).
2015 Winners of Griffin Poetry Prize with Scott Griffin
Jane Munro, Canadian Winner; Scott Griffin; Michael Longley, International Winner
photo by Tom Sandler
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