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Image © McCord Museum

November, 2008
Wanda Campbell
ISBN 978-0-9783879-5-2
5.5 by 8.5 Trade Paperback
90 pages $16.95

Canadian Literature has called the book "an invigorating quest." Read the whole review here.

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Looking for Lucy

by Wanda Campbell

"Anonymous was a woman," says Virginia Woolf, but these poems celebrate the name of several women who found a way to bring light into dark circumstances. Beginning with several Lucys who made a difference — saint, suffragette, author, artist, comedienne, cartoon character, mother, muse — this poetic journey continues with the unlikely love story between Lucy Adaline Hurd and William Cornelius Van Horne, the man responsible for building the railroad that joined Canada from east to west. As he drove his iron dreams across lake shore and forest, prairie and mountain, she stayed behind in Montreal, knowing that her passions — children, music, orchids — would not endure. At the driving of the last spike on November 7, 1885, at Craigellachie, British Columbia, Van Horne pronounced "the work has been done well in every way," but these poems take a closer look at that most famous of Canadian photographs.

The final section draws upon letters, newspaper articles, and obituaries, to reveal what ultimately happened to Addie and the picturesque Canadian places she called home. Using a variety of verse forms including free verse and found poems, sonnets and sestinas, this collection explores the lives of women who inhabit the margins of history and the ways in which they shine.

"I love the ideas of this book — Lucy, looking for Lucy, finding Lucy. I’m also intrigued by the play with form. Wonderful poems here." Anne Simpson

Anne Simpson's work can be found here.

We are grateful to the McCord Museum for permission to use the photograph of Lucy Adaline Van Horne and of The Last Spike for the book's front and back covers.

Wanda Campbell was born in Andhra Pradesh, India, and spent the first decade of her life there. She took a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor under the supervision of Alistair MacLeod and a PhD in Canadian Literature from the University of Western Ontario. She now lives with her husband and three daughters in Wolfville, Nova Scotia where she teaches Creative Writing and Women’s Literature at Acadia University. She has edited Literature: A Pocket Anthology (Penguin) and Hidden Rooms: Early Canadian Women Poets (Canadian Poetry Press) and has published a collection of poetry entitled Sky Fishing (Black Moss) and a chapbook Haw[Thorn] (Gaspereau). Her poems and stories have appeared in the anthologies and numerous journals across Canada including Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, Descant, Driftwood, Fiddlehead, Gaspereau Review, Grain, Harpweaver, Literary Review of Canada, New Quarterly, Queen’s Quarterly, Room of One’s Own, Wascana Review, and The Windsor Review. She has given readings in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as on CBC radio, and is a regular participant in the “Writers in the Schools” program run by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

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