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Part family memoir, part poetry, part love letter to Newfoundland and its people, The Bosun Chair is a lyrical exploration of how we are fortified by the places of our foremothers and forefathers and by how they endured.
Like 'ballycater,' the ice that gathers in harbours along the coast, Jennifer Bowering Delisle gathers fragments of history, family lore, and poetry—both her own and that of her great-grandparents—to tell stories of shipwrecks, war, resettlement, and men and women's labour in early twentieth-century Newfoundland. With deftness and haunting imagery, The Bosun Chair reveals the inherent gaps in ancestral history and the drive to understand a story that can never fully be told.
• NeWest Press Audio interview with General Manager Matt Bowes
"A treasure-box of Newfoundland lore, collected by the great-granddaughter of not one, but two, shipwreck-braving poets, The Bosun Chair’s seamless movement between memoir, poetry, interview and historical document echoes Ondaatje’s early genre-blending lyric prose. Deslisle tenderly imagines a family history of the ancestral Newfoundland she never knew."
"[T]he author’s delicate language will have you feeling comfortable as you swing from moment to moment and piece together her myriad stories." full review
"Poetic linking throughout the book ... reminds us of the gaps in our own identity. In the end, Delisle helps us realize that construction of identity is an ongoing, slippery and deliberate journey." full review
"The Bosun Chair, with its transparency of process and its artful blend of reportage, poetry, and prose, shines a light on migration’s dark sea." full review
"[The Bosun Chair] resonates with a subtle charm and quiet beauty, and the small outports of Newfoundland indeed become our imagined place, as well as Delisle’s."