90 pp; $12.00, paper;
by Marusya Bociurkiw
Halfway to the East is a collection of poetry that travels across Canada to Eastern Europe and Asia, tracing a genealogy of place and displacement, creating a polyphony of identity and voice. It traces the absurdities and losses of immigration, the movement of songs, gestures, and language from one continent to the next, the mixed comfort of family and the poetic reworking of an old country into an irreverent queer new world.
“Marusya Bociurkiw puts her ear to the ground and we hear the songs of the earth: voices of women, Ukrainian grandmother, girls in black leather jackets, a waitress at a roadside cafe, the crooning echo of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” This is a journey home in which all the border crossings – across languages, bedrooms, boundary-lines – are bittersweet adventures.”
~ Stan Persky, author of Autobiography of a Tattoo
Bociurkiw is the author of the acclaimed short story collection The Woman Who Loved Airports (also available from Lazara Press). Her writing has been widely published in journals and anthologies including Fireweed, Dykewords, Queer Looks, the Journey Prize Anthology, and in the fall of 1998 Two Lands: New Visions, Stories from Canada and Ukraine, edited by Janice Kulyk Keefer and Solomea Pavlychko.
Bociurkiw is also a long-time film and video producer in Canada; her productions include Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Haunted Body and Unspoken Territory, a look at ‘unspoken’ moments in Canadian history, told through the stories of First Nations, immigrant and Quebecois women.
“Marusya Bociurkiw has always found herself on the border of things, as an artist, lover, daughter, traveller. She finds her footing in an image, a remembered tale, a fugitive emotion she did not know was hers. She has dredged her language from the archive of a people’s grief and canny tenacity, and from a grandmother’s maddening, irrevocable love. Her poems teeter at the crumbling brink of history, sex and dream.” ~ Myrna Kostash, author of The Doomed Bridegroom.