Narrow Cradle

Author: Wade Kearley
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 112
Dimensions: 5 × 7.75 × 1 in
Weight: .1 kg
Published: April 29, 2020
ISBN: 9781550818154

In Narrow Cradle, Wade Kearley explores the midlife encounter with mortality and the ways we strive to resist, deny, cheat, and even bargain with it. Grounded in both traditional and modern poetic forms, these poems find in the transience of life a new kind of freedom, a rebirth independent of personal circumstance. In crisp, direct, and vivid language—swerving between sonnet, villanelle, and sestina—Kearley offers a compelling collection by turns vicious, lost, ragged, and regal.


  • Shortlisted for The Miramichi Reader’s “The Very Best!” Book Award


“The poems of Narrow Cradle mark shifting seasons of place and heart, sounding depths of lives lived among strength, fragility, tenderness, awe and other landscapes. Wade Kearley is writing in peak form here: from expansive ranginess to arrow-like precision and finesse, poem after poem offers up occasions of toughness, joy, reflection, empathy and quiet power.” – Susan Gillis

Narrow Cradle is a thoroughly realized, excellent book of poems. Wade Kearley has a fine ear for meter and phrasing, and I often found myself putting down the book to marvel at the beautiful specificity of a line or image. Kearley’s carefully nuanced descriptions of nature are detailed enough that had I not lived in St. John’s for six years, I’d still get a very strong sense of place. I was also joyed at the facility with which Kearley shifts between fixed and free form poems. But beyond this, I was also fascinated by the book’s larger movements, which wrought the many lyric poems into a larger narrative arc about the speaker’s dissolving relationships and his attempts to repair them while simultaneously acknowledging his utter inability to do so due to his own character flaws. It was refreshing to see someone take as much care as Kearley did in making sure that there was a larger something to tie everything together.” – Jon D. Lee, Suffolk University, MFA, PhD

“These are by no means simply musings of an ageing poet. This is the raw, real beauty, fraying and resiliency in each of us. Leaving me again inspired by the written word… Whether you’re new to the genre or a veteran, read this work. It will be time and emotion well spent. These stories are ours, shared by a highly-skilled storyteller. Perhaps it’s all been done. But as tides turn and birds return, you can be wondrously surprised by the beauty and flight of each one.” – Bill Arnott, The Miramichi Reader

“I have been pummeled by the force of heartbreak and pain in some of these offerings. I have been washed in wistfulness and regret. I was metaphorically knocked to my knees by the author’s intense viciousness toward the subject in his ‘Crucifying Corey.’ I have felt the powerful and raw emotions that run through this book. Mr. Kearley has held nothing back in his desire to write about emotions we so often try to deny having… What I have gained through Mr. Kearley’s work is invaluable in seeing the range and depth of emotion that can shared through this literary forum.” – Atlantic Book Reviews 

“All the things I love about the Canadian wilderness can be found in this book. Every quiet suffering is told, every love and tangled memory. The poems run with the sculpted beauty of a David Adams Richards novel and while they are about the human condition we can all relate to, they are exquisitely quintessentially Canadian and carry the indelible Maritime magic.” – The Minerva Reader

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