YAW [poetry, 2014]



YAW marks a sharp departure in tone and structure from Dani Couture’s previous two acclaimed poetry collections. An almost singular narrative runs through these quiet, powerful poems, a narrative that seeks to examine how far we must go to answer the questions closest to us, how we grieve, and how to make sense of what and who remains. YAW is a spare but abundant book, a seamless gathering of investigative poems that can be seen as one side of a conversation—or, perhaps, a plea for answers to the unanswerable.

Written with the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council (TAC).


“Couture is a sensitive and talented writer and her portraits are fine and clear.”
— Michel Basilières, National Post

“Sweet has a complexity that extends far beyond the notes detectable by our mammalian taste buds.”
— Stevie Howell, Arc Poetry Journal

“It is easy to borrow Couture’s own words to describe hers: honed, pared, exactly cut. Her sensory, often simple, language is kept tidy with meticulous line breaks and punctuation. It’s rich with suggestion and sound play…”
—Janet Henderson, Books in Canada

“[Couture has] an ear for the social ecology of humans as tuned as the one for flight patterns of birds or the eating habits of a grizzly bear. Sweet is an excellent read: short, sweet, and constantly challenging.”
— Jacob McArthur Mooney, Torontoist


“YAW takes [Couture’s] poetry to impressive new heights and should be seen as a breakthrough book for this poet.”
Paul Vermeersch, All Lit Up

“Couture’s words offer the gut-punch of grief precisely observed, and the reader buckles…YAW is a gorgeous read, slim but challenging, demanding a close eye and frequent rereading.”
—Jenna Butler, Vallum

Couture is a poet who can turn what may appear to be quiet banality into something that grabs you by the guts. Her specificity makes her images anything but mundane.”
Kate Hargreaves, Bookthug’s Best Reads 2014 (Authors edition)

“…Yaw is short but expansive, sharp and honed…The resulting collection startles, stabs and demands attention. Yaw confirms Couture’s impressive range and cold command.”
Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press

“Dani Couture is a poet in full and confident stride…The truth is, this slim volume, Couture’s [third], is a feast.”
Michael Dennis

“The candid voice on display in YAW goes in for deep sentiment but rarely sinks into sentimentality…Couture intuits what to excise, what we can live without, and her short book holds only what’s necessary because “the dark spaces are heavy/ with so much” (“KIC 4862625”). Loss is distilled. The centre of the book, the heart of it, is found in its concentrated grief.”
Danny Jacobs, Maisonneuve

“Couture seems to have grown in bounds as a writer…”
Catherine Owen, Summer Marrow Review: 5 Spring 2014 Stuart Ross Imprint Books of Poetry from Mansfield Press

“Even in such a small space, and with so few words, Couture is able to evoke a commanding emotional resonance. Her language is consistently spare, tight, with nothing superfluous, yet it manages to communicate and suggest so much. ”
Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

“Disaster can come on sudden as the weather. This is the overarching theme in Dani Couture’s dark, compelling third collection of poetry, YAW…Catastrophe looms in both the large and the small in this tight, terse book as we move from abrupt highway crashes and descending tornadoes to the loss of friends and brief but unforgettable moments of abject aloneness.”
Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading

Quill & Quire’s spring preview 2014

49th Shelf’s Most Anticipated: Spring 2014 Poetry Preview


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