Come Cold River


Yay!  My new book, Come Cold River, is available . . .


Published by Quattro Books and available in the next couple of weeks at better books stores near you. To order directly from Quattro, visit

Here's the press release . . .

"Am I home for good . . . or for bad?

Am I here to bury the hatchet

or dig it up and throw it?”


After decades of writing about foreign landscapes, most notably Burma, the award-winning writer Karen Connelly has finally come home with her work. Her tenth book Come Cold River is a memoir in poetry, a very personal exploration of family politics, domestic abuse, and the carried-over costs of addiction. Unlike much Canadian poetry of the moment, it rejects complex intellectual and text-based formulations in favour of a more direct, almost theatrical address, asking the reader to consider not only the origins of family and gender-based violence, but the origins of violence in an entire country.


"Oh Canada, what do you really mean?

How can I sing you

without lying?"


Canada, after all, is a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word, a little-acknowledged fact among Canadians. Much of Connelly’s childhood was spent close to the borders of an “Indian” reserve. She and her Anglo-Irish siblings grew up with an acute awareness—rare at that time—that their backyard used to be someone else’s territory. In Come Cold River, this is one of many invisible histories that insist on making themselves visible and readable in the present world.

Many of the events in Come Cold River take place in Alberta and BC. While these two provinces constantly mythologize their wealth and ‘freedom’, the book responds, by turns acerbically, humorously, and harrowingly, with mythologies of its own.

Rushing forward like the river of it title, this narrative collection is also a necessary one, insisting that it is still possible for poetry to be angry and enlivening, as lyrically deft as it is politically charged.   

Karen ConnellyComment