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The Anatomy of Clay

9781770410145 | Poetry
Published by ECW Press, 2011

Gillian Sze's second poetry collection explores the individual as a sentient mystery. Sze offers observational poems, which recount intimate and ordinary moments often missed, overlooked or forgotten in the urban mundane, and finds her subjects in a woman waiting for the bus, a neighbour who talks to his plants, a girl smoking after a storm. The Anatomy of Clay finds exceptions in prosaic conditions and the ineffable distinctions between people, selves, objects, and histories.
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⌘ Winner of the "Meshes-of-the-Afternoon" Prize by l'Académie de la vie littéraire au tournant du 21e siècle; longlisted for the 2012 ReLit Award

Available online and hopefully at your local bookstore.

Some kind words:

Sze's language is sometimes more ornate — "Now we must rave the somatic reaping" — but for the most part her words are soft, gathered in their own tight buns, with few strays.


The poetry of Montreal's Gillian Sze is like a series of sighs — frozen, like winter puffs of breath on the page. The world feels too much for Sze, and she brilliantly conveys each extreme in this her second poetry collection. It's hard not to read the poem Divining as Sze's most confessional. "She reads cracks in the pavement, / steps gingerly over the lines, / the road stretched / like a palm. ... She is learning to be vigilant, / looks for meaning in every striation." And Sze finds it, like the best diviners do.


I am utterly won over and convinced. Gillian Sze writes with humour and charm and a playful surgeon's knife. The Anatomy of Clay is one of those surprisingly good books of poems where you can open to any page and feel the full force of Sze's dynamic and consistent pen.