by Sandra Ridley
6" x 7.5" · 88 pages
Release Date: April 2010
Fallout embraces the darkness of the 20th century in poems that inhabit both the fear and wonder of that time. On the surface Fallout appears to be about the legacy of the nuclear age yet Ridley writes with a subversive humour that counters the fierceness of her subject. In her world madness intrudes upon the mundane as a Nevada casino shakes during a "test", a white train rumbles through the night transporting nuclear weapons and a couple takes up residence in a vacant nuclear weapons silo.
Ridley's poems veer from the terrifying to the tender, the comic and the apocalyptic, the ironic to the philosophical, and the cosmic to the domestic — often within the same poem. This is an energetic and entertaining new voice in Canadian poetry both insightful and playful by turns. At the heart of the book is an elegiac tone that points to a more hopeful future. The book ends with an award winning sequence of ghazals written about the death of a young sister that leaves the reader breathless.
Sandra Ridley was co-winner of the bpNichol Chapbook Award for her chapbook Lift (JackPine Press) and was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry in 2009. An earlier version of Fallout won the 2008 Alfred G. Bailey Prize. A past associate editor with Arc Magazine, and a facilitator of poetry workshops for the Tree Reading Series and the City of Ottawa, Ridley's work can also be found in such journals as The Antigonish Review, CV2, Fiddlehead, Grain, New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, RAMPIKE, and This Magazine, and as a chapbook titled Rest Curepublished by Apt. 9 Press. Sandra Ridley grew up in Saskatchewan, and currently resides in Ottawa. This is her first full-length collection.