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The Self-Completing Tree

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  14 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
The Self-Completing Tree is the author's own collection of the best of her last 50 years of writing. In this new edition, the celebrated Grand Dame of English Canadian letters and award-winning poet uses the metaphor implied by the title a tree, half verdant, half in flames to symbolize the androgynous self. This is the theme of much of Livesay's work and a central metapho ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published December 16th 1999 by Dundurn (first published January 1st 1999)
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Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I feel more alive, more human, more Woman, whenever I read any poem contained in this compilation. I hadn't thoroughly dissected and digested a book in this way since A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman.
"This is the selection of poems that I would like to be remembered by."
And so it shall be. Dorothy Livesay will live on in my heart and soul, in the heart and soul of every forest, in the heart and soul of every creature that dares to live, and love.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Livesay's place in the Canadian Modernist cannon (a place she would dispute) is well earned. Her poetry is both simple and moving, and her dedication to leftist politics is impressive. I particularly like her use of children as mediators between that which is male and that which is female. Her transfiguration of the body is also unique: it often involves the melting or removal of skin, and -- while sounding gross -- is done with great beauty.

A great anthology.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was originally given to me as a University text to study, but I’ve returned to it under my own steam countless times since. It was first published in 1986, over twenty-five years ago, but its themes are timeless, and Livesay’s writing is seamless. There is a definite focus on female concerns, but the poems go much further. There are commentaries on places and people Livesay knew or observed, and on events that caught her eye. In her Foreword she describes her thinking as being dominated by ...more
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A writer of journalism, short fiction, autobiography and literary criticism, Livesay is best known as a strong, sensitive poet dealing as capably with public and political issues as with personal and intimate emotion and reflection. She was senior woman writer in Canada during active and productive years in the 1970s and 1980s. Her mother, Florence Randal Livesay, journalist, poet and translator, ...more