Open Every Window
Douglas & McIntyre: 2021
When Jane Munro’s husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Griffin-award-winning poet must chart a path through the depths of grief, learning to live with loss and to take solace and find freedom in the restorative powers of writing.
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
Interview with Joseph Planta can be heard here: http://thecommentary.ca/ontheline/1972-jane-munro/
Brick Books: Spring 2020
"Jane Munro’s Glass Float—part travelogue, part journal, part meditation—picks up where Blue Sonoma ends: the speaker finds herself alone, at the live edge of her life. These neat, clear poems contain Munro’s breath. They cross oceans."
—Ian Williams, author of Reproduction (Giller Prize winner 2019)
Glass Float, the seventh collection by award-winning poet Jane Munro, considers the widening of horizons that border and shape our lives, the familiarity and mystery of conscious experience, and the deepening awareness that comes with a dedicated practice such as yoga.
The poems are attuned to the breath that shapes body; they are equally alert to the world. They find our precarious time set within a larger time and connected to humanity's long past. In their gathered particulars they bring us close to the concavities, the complex familiarity and mystery of conscious experience.
Yoko’s Dogs (Jan Conn, Mary di Michele, Susan Gillis, and Jane Munro) is a collaborative poetry group writing linked verse in English, following and reinventing traditions of Japanese poetry. Previous publications include Whisk (Pedlar Press, 2013) and Rhinoceros (Gaspereau Press, 2016).
A Sally Port
Espresso Chapbooks: 2018
“Mrs. Mitchell was wearing shorts when she opened the front door. I had never seen legs like hers in real life, only on billboards. Maybe she’d forgotten I was coming. I could look through her house and out the back door to a patch of sunny grass. She slipped on a pair of ballerina flats and led me into her kitchen. A fancy magazine folded open to a photograph of a twelve-layered prune cake lay on the counter. A cake without icing.”
A memoir by the poet Jane Munro of her father, the house he built for the family, and growing up in British Columbia after WW II.
4.75 x 8.5 in., 30 pages, hand sewn and bound, with French flaps: limited edition, numbered copies.
Brick Books: London, Ontario, 2014
A wise and embodied collection of dreamscapes, sutras and prayer poems from a writer at her peak.
In Blue Sonoma, award-winning poet Jane Munro draws on her well-honed talents to address what Eliot called “the gifts reserved for age.” A partner’s crossing into Alzheimer’s is at the heart of this book, and his “battered blue Sonoma” is an evocation of numerous other crossings: between empirical reportage and meditative apprehension, dreaming and wakefulness, Eastern and Western poetic traditions. Rich in both pathos and sharp shards of insight, Munro’s wisdom here is deeply embedded, shot through with moments of wit and candour. In the tradition of Taoist poets like Wang Wei and Po-Chu-i, her sixth and best book opens a wide poetic space, and renders difficult conditions with the lightest of touches.
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
These are delicate, polished poems—poems of few words—and while a fast reader could tear through Blue Sonoma in a half-hour that would be doing a grave disservice to Munro’s craft. The second half of the book, about her partner’s dementia, is so devastating because it is so beautiful.
— David Starkey, former Santa Barbara poet laureate
Though inspired by her experiences, the poems were meant to speak to something more. Munro says … “I was interested in dementia as a metaphor … for human relations with Earth.”
— Mike Landry (Telegraph-Journal, Salon Focus)
Pedlar Press: St.John’s Newfoundland, 2010
Jane Munro’s fifth collection of poetry, Active Pass, explores connections among the visual arts, yogic discipline, and self-regeneration. The book opens with a suite of ghazals arising from the conflicts in mid-life, moves into poems about Mary Pratt’s paintings, and closes with a reflective sequence called “Nearer Prayer than Story.” A long poem in the third section won the 2007 Bliss Carman Award.
“spellbinding … haunting … thoughtful, evocative … arresting images … Zen-like spirituality …”
“These are midlife poems, pensive reflections on loss and having to let go of places and people. They contemplate short-lived happiness and lingering sorrow. Yet they are threaded through with a calm energy and resolve, not regret and resignation. The reader feels buoyed up rather than weighed down.”
— Barbara Carey, Toronto Star (read the full review here)
“The first-place poem, “Master your hands and your feet, your words and your thoughts,” is full of elegant shifts, both physical and spiritual, stretching into new imaginative territory with great aplomb. An ambitious, yet playful poem. One that came into being in order to see if whimsy and daring could strike the same poses as the body elastic. A poem that tied me up in rather lovely knots.”
— Barry Dempster, judge of 2007 Bliss Carman Award competition
Point No Point
McClelland & Stewart, Ltd.: Toronto, 2006
In Point No Point, Jane Munro’s fourth collection of poetry, she turns her gaze on the men in her background — a bold, obstreperous father; an artist-grandfather; a disappearing brother — and on her move from the city to the wilds of Vancouver Island.
“Point No Point’s title comes from a landform — an actual point on the west coast of Vancouver Island, which seems, when approached from the other side, to be no point at all — and it alerts us to the fact that Jane Munro’s poems are situated in a deep sense. They live in situ in the way they inhabit their native place, intimate with its mists, its mosses and lichens, with the salmonberry and false lily-of-the-valley of their ecosystem. They are also situated temporally, evoking sharply etched memories, visions, and dreams: a real-time visit to her father’s boatyard, a dream visit with her mother from a time before the poet was conceived, a flashback to the sixties rendered in extreme close-up. … Her gifts as a poet — acuity, candour, musicality — make Point No Point a work of unforgettable witness.” — Don Mckay
“Lyric, contemporary, steeped in memory …. Munro is a versatile poet. She moves with ease between prose poems grounded in memory and free-form lyric…. Superb….” — Jeanette Lynes, Globe and Mail
Gaspereau Press, 2016
by Yoko’s Dogs
(Susan Gillis, Jan Conn, Mary di Michele, Jane Munro)
Our chapbook Rhinoceros, beautifully produced by Gaspereau Press, launched in Whitehorse, Yukon and Lee, MA. Several years in the making, Rhinoceros is a collection of poems written entirely collaboratively, like all our work together. We like to read our work collaboratively, too: do multi-vocal presentations. You can contact us by email at yokosdogs(at)gmail.com.
Pedlar Press: Toronto, 2013
A collaboration of poems that is playful, meditative, often surprising and always joyful. — Elizabeth Bachinksy
The poems of Whisk play with language in all kinds of weather as they nod to traditions of Japanese linked poetry. From the everyday to the intensely lyric, moving through urban and rural landscapes, the images and surprising leaps move readers as readily to laughter as into contemplation.
Yoko’s Dogs (Jane Munro, Mary di Michele, Susan Gillis and Jan Conn) was formed in 2006 when the four poets decided to engage in writing collaborative Japanese-style linked verse. In keeping with tradition, which they happily and radically break in order to invent anew, the Doggies’ practice is rigorous, exacting, challenging and exuberant.
Whisk by Yoko’s Dogs is an utter delight to read. … The simplicity of the diction belies the richness and depth of the visual components. …These small, precise poems are gems to be savoured.
— Candice Fertile, Room Magazine
So what happens when you scrub poetry of figurative language, besides sending Aristotle into a grave-spin? … What does an image do when it does not refer to anything else? How can I tune my mind to this kind of seeing? When a poem is not making metaphors, what is it doing instead? — Abby Paige, Montreal Review of Books
I love the way the collaborative voice held me inside the book, but also caused me to go outside of it so widely and so joyously. If part of poetry’s job is to take us out of ourselves and send us to unexpected places, Whisk succeeds with me. I have felt lucky all day.
— Kimmy Beach, Canadian Poetries
Jane Munro: After the Fire
Waterfront Studio: Victoria, BC, 2011 – a full-length CD.
Poetry needs to be heard!
Jane Munro enjoys giving live poetry readings in many settings — a backyard wedding in California, a theatre at the Banff Centre for the Fine Arts, “Thin Air” in Winnipeg, the “Art Bar” in Toronto, “Planet Earth” in Victoria, numerous book stores, yoga celebrations, universities, art galleries, plus other reading series and festivals. Although Munro’s done hundreds of readings, more people meet her work on the page than hear it voiced. Now you can listen to her read poems from Daughters, The Trees Just Moved Into A Season Of Other Shapes, Grief Notes & Animal Dreams, Point No Point and Active Pass.
To order a copy of Jane Munro: After the Fire, please contact Jane.
Grief Notes & Animal Dreams
Brick Books: London, Ontario, 1995
Jane Munro’s poems are explorations of the mysteries of inner experience. What are the truths of emotion? What can the body know? In Grief Notes & Animal Dreams, Munro’s third collection, we enter the condition Gaston Bachelard has called reverie, strange and miraculous beauty glowing in the suspended underwater light of the heart.
“We arrive in the midst of this book as one arrives in mid-life: feet on the ground, eyes closed — and by example are instructed to walk. Our feet will find the way, says the dream logic of waking thought which is the language of this book; and the motion, the motion of that walking and of these poems, which is syncopated, because events sometimes conspire to pull us up short, nonetheless sets us humming. Who should read this book? Those who look ahead; those who look back; those of us in mid-life who look both ways, eyes closed which is to say open to the stubborn, intimate attachments we live by.” — Roo Borson
“Ghostliness, the feel of forces extending beyond the bounds of the poem … can be seen as the particular magic of her art. She is intent on peopling the silences of her own history, on giving voice to the submerged stories of women.” —Tim Bowling, Books in Canada
The Trees Just Moved Into a Season
of Other Shapes
Quarry Press, Inc.: Kingston, Ontario, 1986
Jane Munro’s poetry moves through a wide range of styles — from imagistic and meditative to lyrical and prose poems — and ranges widely in natural and cultural setting — from a small creek bed in British Columbia to the grand Ganges River in India. All the while she explores through a personal voice her primary relationships with others as mother and lover.
“Stylistically … daring…and far-ranging in setting (from the B.C. coast to India), this second collection is essentially a generous invitation into the full emotional landscape of a mature woman’s life.”
— Tim Bowling, Books in Canada
Fiddlehead Poetry Books: Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1982
The poems in Daughters follow Poppi, a Greek woman, as she marries an English archaeologist and moves from Turkey to Canada. This first collection from Jane Munro won the McMillan Poetry Prize and was short-listed for the Pat Lowther Award.
“… with formal brilliance and panache … her poems are based on an aesthetic of abundance rather than austerity : they renounce the convention of alienation in favour of the high risks of making connections.”
— Jean Mallinson, Brick Books