This fresh and visceral debut explores themes of trauma and recovery, everyday violence, and queerness from a personal point of view as well as a wider political context. These poems are interested in the resilience of bodies and sexualities, often grounded in an earthy humour. The style shifts from lyric to deeply personal narrative to fantastical: an old woman plants broken light bulbs and harvests dark flowers, two sisters grow feathers in a nest in the backyard maple, a mother turns into a deer and escapes the unspeakable through a kitchen window. These are poems of disruption, discovery, and witness—balancing brutal honesty with a welcoming intensity. They want you to come close.
Available from Caitlin Press or from your local bookstore, Winter’s Cold Girls was shortlisted for the 2020 Relit Award for poetry.
“In Winter’s Cold Girls, Lisa Baird explores the roots of trauma, queer love, and self awakening. Her dazzling, precise lines reveal a vital poetics that grows out of ordinary landscapes to transform the text into a balm for insight, healing, and articulation. Winter’s Cold Girls is a startling and resplendent poetic offering”.
—Gwen Benaway, winner of the Governor’s General award and author of Holy Wild (Book*hug)
“Lisa Baird has built us a rare, necessary storehouse in Winter’s Cold Girls. Like the seed catalogues and fire towers that inhabit these poems, Baird is taking account and keeping watch—over the performance of apologies, the escalation of queer misogyny and relationship violence, our betrayal of the natural world. How fortunate we are to have this vigilant, persistent book that refuses to look away from the false promises of forgiveness, the ‘word for the things queers leave unsaid,’ the transformation of our bodies by grief and abuse, and the persistence of the earth—’where tiny creatures tougher than you continue.’ These poems are such creatures. What a continual gift.”
—Leah Horlick, author of For Your Own Good
“Lisa Baird has a voice that is fierce, queer, accessible, and alchemical. Whether stark or fantastical, her poems approach trauma with a transformative intelligence. There is a curative ferocity here—a way of speaking about violence that serves not as a reliving but as a retrieval of power, a form of resistance. These poems are not afraid to be angry—there are hexes and blow-torch renovations—but they can also be tender, weird, grief-filled, playful, and full of awe. Throughout, the natural world serves as witness, refuge, and counterpoint. Each section opens with a poem constructed from words found in a seed catalogue. In these poems, plants resist by growing, and bodies by finding joy. This necessary collection, which deals with topics ranging from childhood trauma to rape culture to queer-on-queer violence, also contains the seeds of a joyful and embodied survival.”
—Anna Swanson, Lambda Award-winning author of The Nights Also