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Stephanie Bolster

stephanie bolster

About the author

Visit Stephanie Bolster's faculty profile for more information, including a full bibliography. 

A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth

takes us into richly troubled places - prisons of, monuments to, museums for the lost natural world - where questions of what it means to be human, to be animal, to be other and to be art are tangibly in the air.  In this ambivalent and open-eyed meander through a landscape of made and contained things, we enounter zoos, aviaries, botanical gardens, glasshouses, arcades and, of course, books, including the Time Life volume named in the title.  Acutely angled, filled with intertextual resonance and wit, the poems vacillate between wonder and horror, opening up the possibility of honest, unsentimental elegy.     Brick Books


Penned: Zoo Poems

gathers English-language poems from around the world, spanning more than a century of captivation with the worlds inside the cage and out. Our guides on this journey, at times nostalgic, haunting, whimsical and provocative, include eminent and emerging poets—Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Bishop, Lorna Crozier, Countee Cullen, Emily Dickinson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ted Hughes, AA Milne, Marianne Moore, Al Purdy, AK Ramanujan, and Matthew Sweeney. The poems themselves are as rich and varied as the species they corral. We wander through the poems of this eclectic anthology as through a zoo, looking back at the animal, to paraphrase Randell Jarrell, like the animal.    Vehicule Press


The poems in this collection create longings, reveries, and meditations that, though powerfully presented to us, evade the reduction of named emotion. It takes a special subtlety of writing, a delicate handling of image and judgement of details to make what is offstage resonate with such eloquence. This collection reveals Stephanie Bolster writing at the extreme of her craft to bring us a poetry of extraordinary refinement.     McClelland

Two Bowls of Milk

The poems of Stephanie Bolster’s second collection move with delicacy and power, whether focussing on a flock of snow geese on a flooded plain, on the paintings of Jean Paul Lemieux, or on two wasps in a Pepsi can on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These intimate acts of language create a space infused with stillness and an edgy expectation. Here is a poetry of engagement and mystery, in which truth is found in seepage and reversal: the bowls of milk the colour of milk; the two facing human profiles forming between them the shape of a vase. This volume sketches a clear, unwavering arc through poems sometimes raw and painful, but always exquisite, and, ultimately, transformative.     McClelland

White Stone: The Alice Poems

Winner of the 1998 Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry

"WHITE STONE: THE ALICE POEMS was judged the best book of poetry in 1998 for as many reasons as there are poems in this powerful sequence, but due primarily to Stephanie Bolster's ability to depict the emotional life of Alice Liddell as girl and woman in brilliant narrative juxtapositions. She uses her lyrical powers to present Alice the creation and Alice the person in a cultural context that, on one level, re-examines cognition and dissociation and on another, liberates the poetic sequence from the monotony of story and closure."

These evocative poems move from the icon of Alice in Wonderland to the imagined figure of Alice out of Wonderland--on a Vancouver beach with the poet, underground with Persephone, in Memphis with Elvis. But first they explore the life of the real Alice Liddell (1852-1934), who sat still for Charles Dodgson's camera and inspired the Alice books which prompted his rise to fame as Lewis Carrol. The publication of White Stone in 1998 coincides with the centenary of Lewis Carroll's death.     Vehicule Press

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