May 30, 2024:

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Kerosene

Kerosene

Kerosene

In Kerosene, her debut book of poetry, Jamella Hagen weaves individual memories into a narrative that charts the process of orientation and growing maturity within shifting geographical locations. Patterned on the author’s own experience, the collection follows the story of a young woman’s life, encompassing the beauty and harshness of a childhood spent in the wilderness of Northern BC, the difficult process of adapting to city life, a period of extensive travel in South America, and her eventual return to the north. From a position of experience, the poet is able to contemplate the events of her lifetime with a thoughtful and sometimes gently ironic voice. Equal to the strength and wisdom of the memoir, however, is the richness and vividness of detail distilled through her clear and accessible style. Whether she’s describing enigmatic memories of her mother, the exquisite but steadily disappearing Perito Moreno Glacier, or the moonshine still on her kitchen table, Hagen has mastered the trick of animating fleeting moments with an elegant touch that evokes both familiarity and wonder.

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About the author

Jamella Hagen

Jamella Hagen’s first collection of poetry, Kerosene, was published by Nightwood Editions in 2011. She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Yukon University, and is an affiliate poetry editor with the Alaska Quarterly Review. Her work has won The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and has been featured in Best Canadian Poetry. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies across North America, including The Malahat Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, and Ploughshares. She lives with her eight-year-old son, Rowan, on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council in Whitehorse, Yukon.

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