The Survival Rate of Butterflies In the Wild

The Survival Rate of Butterflies In the Wild


by Murray Reiss

Paperback (Strike Fire/Poetry)
8.5" x 5.25" · 88 pages
Release Date: May 2013
ISBN 978126710204

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With clarity and compassion, Murray Reiss writes of a childhood haunted by the Holocaust in which his father's entire family perished - and by his father's subsequent silence. A "second-hand survivor," his father's "distance from the chimneys didn't spare him; / his distance from those smokestacks was his disease."

Unrelenting in his refusal to soften the legacy of death and pain in his family history, Reiss's poems speak the truth with integrity and grace. Elliptical and allusive, veined with dark humour often surreal, proceeding by fits and starts, by feints and misdirections, these poems illumine some of history's darkest shadows with a flickering but redemptive light.

This is a powerful and fearless book that maps the uncertain terrain of memory and loss. We are richer for the strength of mind that Reiss conveys through his journey.

2014 Gerald Lampert Award Jury Citation:

A powerful, moving book with poems that are poignant, accurate, written in deep ancestral memory, and in figurative language that is sometimes delicate and always accomplished. By focusing on the story of his relationship with his father, Reiss suggests how personal experience is inextricably connected to various contexts that form and transform our lives. A reader’s emotional engagement and the poet’s craft is sustained throughout, and no matter how passionate, the poems never collapse into mere emotion.


Murray Reiss

Murray Reiss is a B.C. poet whose work is included in anthologies such as Rocksalt: An Anthology of Contemporary B.C. Poetry (Mother Tongue Publishing) and in periodicals including: Grain, Alaska Quarterly Review, Contemporary Verse 2 and Tickle Ace. In 2005 Mother Tongue Press published his chap book, Distance from the Locus. Reiss was born in Sarnia, Ontario and lives on Salt Spring Island.