Clever and persistent, Magpie Days, the debut poetry collection from Brenda Sciberras, picks through the baubles and trinkets of the everyday. And like the black and white plumage of the magpie, Sciberras’s poems balance the exquisite tension between joy and misery. Evoking life-defining events from the remembrance of a first bicycle to the loss of a close friend, these poems acknowledge pleasure and pain as necessary to life.
At the heart of Magpie Days is a father lying in a hospital bed, dying, and his daughter sitting next to him, watching him go. Other losses are explored and for each a bright memory persists. Magpies circle these poems for those memories, the glint of life they give off. The absences that won’t be silenced are recorded here in trustworthy detail by a poet who is exploring not only loss but how memories persist by shining.
Sue Goyette, author of Ocean
Sciberras’s Magpie Days is a beguiling debut collection, charming us with its clear and confident voice. The intoxicating language within these poems pecks at memory and scavenges the heart of family, love, and loss. Deft lines soar along the often delicate and generously crafted poems, allowing the reader to linger and "gather all that shines."
Tracy Hamon, author of Red Curls
In Magpie Days we feel the ambivalence of childhood and adolescence, the bleakness and rancour of marital breakdown, the challenges of motherhood, the tenderness and brutality of old age. Sciberras "writes what she knows" in keen detail, with clear, honest language and some delicate, precise twists of humour. A strong beginning for a new prairie poet.
Rhona McAdam, author of Leaving Howe Island
"I take my refuge in poetry / weave a cocoon of change / [...] / embrace metaphor / while you wrap your arms around / Johnnie Walker." Sciberras's best moments meditate like this, on art as something that cannot stand against tragedy but still stands in its wake.
Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
Brenda Sciberras has a very mature voice for a first book, polished like an old pro. Sciberras is one of those poets I really admire, she is from the "write what you know" school of poetics as Rhona McAdam suggests.
Michael Dennis, Today's Book of Poetry
Turnstone Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Government of Canada, and the Province of Manitoba through Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage.