Looking For Light

Looking For Light

 

By Susan Ioannou

 

ISBN: 978-1-927725-34-4

Trade Paperback: 81 pages

Publication Date: April 1, 2016

Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95

 

In a deeply troubled world, how is it possible to create beauty and meaning? This is the question haunting Susan Ioannou as her fourth major collection, Looking for Light, opens. As a poet she must try to reconcile the insistence of her Muse to Make it beautiful, with disturbing spectres, such as a homeless man struggling to warm himself on a sidewalk grate.

In an attempt to find such a balance, Part 1 follows the travels of the artistic imagination, from an idealized memory of Italy’s Bagni di Lucca where the 19th-century poet Percy Bysshe Shelley summered, to a train journey through eastern Canada’s Matapedia Valley symbolically uniting English, Native, and French. Closer to home, a romantic fantasy is inspired by a handsome student in a poetry class, a sculptor’s good intentions challenge–and are challenged by–her subject, and a passionate Latin dancer swirls after perfection.

In Part 2, Beyond Knowing, Ioannou’s questioning turns inward. Blending spirituality and an engagement with nature with the paradoxes of particle physics, she puzzles about the idea and experience of God and the mysterious forces that brought us into being and invisibly sustain us, body and soul. Who would be a God? she asks, but if so, what kind of God? The quest to resolve troubling contradictions ends with a surrealistic, pinball-like balance sheet dream.

In Part 3, Passing Seventy, Ioannou explores the transformation, both physical and emotional, as the final years of life unfold. With humour and compassion, she writes of the shocks brought by the mounting years: delight in finding oneself still alive on waking, the bizarre disorientation caused by a mini stroke, new stresses building despite the urge to prove oneself to grown children as still agile and able, and the consequent awakening to the struggles of even the tiniest life, a bug trapped in a bathtub. As the prospect of death and mourning draws nearer, there is a coming to terms with what is truly of value, as well as a new awareness that transcends individual human life with a larger vision of what may come after the inevitable ultimately happens.

 

Recent Praise
John Reibetanz, poetJohn Reibetanz, poet
Susan Ioannou’s Looking for Light is a book of many strengths. Its structure carries us surely and gracefully ever inwards through its first two sections, dealing with travel experiences and then with some of the profound existential questions raised by the world that we’ve explored—only to focus its third section with laser-like intensity on the more personal matter of aging and what Philip Larkin called “the only end of age.” Its depiction of places ...

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K.V. Skene, author of Love in the (Irrational) ImperfectK.V. Skene, author of Love in the (Irrational) Imperfect
Initially, I opened Ioannou’s Looking for Light just to catch a preview—the next thing I knew I was reading the Epilogue. Seriously, it’s that brilliant. She begins by questioning if it is possible for a poet to “Make it Beautiful” in our less-than-perfect world: “... how to scribble words about beauty / despite some fanatic’s fuse, / a child’s swollen belly, or bullets? / What does it mean to honour the Muse?” Poetry, art ...

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Annis Karpenko, artist, Executive Director of Visual Arts MississaugaAnnis Karpenko, artist, Executive Director of Visual Arts Mississauga
I first discovered the beautiful poetry of Susan Ioannou when I stumbled across her collection Looking Through Stone: Poems About the Earth. I was making paintings of stones and rock faces, and Susan’s words resonated through each brushstroke. From her poem Why, Susan writes: “Great ages echo and shiver / playing themselves out / within our puny bones.”In her new collection, Looking for Light, Ioannou gives strength and form to the life experiences our ...

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R. Franklin Carter, editor, TorontoR. Franklin Carter, editor, Toronto
Susan Ioannou’s latest collection Looking for Light includes poems about travel, artistic inspiration, the wilderness, aging, God, and the mysteries of existence. Her carefully crafted poems are sensuous, perceptive, revelatory and provocative. Poetry lovers will want to read them again and again.

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Sheila Martindale, editor of Island Writer, Victoria, B.CSheila Martindale, editor of Island Writer, Victoria, B.C
Susan Ioannou seems to have found the light she was looking for! Looking For Light positively gleams with luminosity. From brief four-line snippets to lengthy three-page narratives, her wise insights reflect a fine writer at the peak of maturity. Whether she is pondering the complexities faced by God, or considering age and the passing of time, Ioannou’s camera eye focuses on our humanity and the road we are all traveling. A beautiful, finely-crafted volume ...

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Ron Charach, author of cabana the big and ProsopagnosiaRon Charach, author of cabana the big and Prosopagnosia
In this engaging third period work, poet and career editor Susan Ioannou relentlessly questions the adequacy of words to capture the gleanings of her keen-eyed, open-eared travels through space and time—even words that hang themselves upon the catch-nail of love.

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Leslie Uyeda, composer, Vancouver, BCLeslie Uyeda, composer, Vancouver, BC
In our world so damaged, so desperate, and so beautiful, “What does it mean to honour the Muse?” asks poet Susan Ioannou in her new collection, Looking for Light. “I have chosen words to be my light and darkness too,” she writes in the epilogue, and I am so grateful that she did. I first discovered Susan Ioannou in 2007 while searching for a poem I could use to compose a piece that was ...

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Chris Faiers, Poet, Publisher, EditorChris Faiers, Poet, Publisher, Editor
There is more true poetry, more beauty, knowledge and song - direct transmissions from Susan's Muse - in each of the three sections of Looking For Light than in 99% of the entire typical Canuck poetry offering. Miss devouring this book, and you'll miss the heart, soul and wisdom of one of Canada's best and wisest poets.

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Jannie Edwards, Author of Falling Blues, Frontenac HouseJannie Edwards, Author of Falling Blues, Frontenac House
This collection (Looking For Light) questions the role of poetry and art in a world increasingly troubled with violence, injustice and inequality. These poems speak across the gulfs of guilt and moral paralysis with affirmations of love and the belief that art goes beyond “bronzed surfaces” to resonate with compassion and human connection.

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Susan Ioannou

Susan Ioannou

Susan Ioannou’s fiction, articles, and poetry have appeared across Canada. She is the winner of an Okanagan Short Story Award, twice a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards, and the recipient of a Works in Progress and Writers’ Reserve grants from the Ontario Arts Council. Some of her poems have been translated into Hindi and Dutch, and others set to music for performance in both Canada and Norway. For many years she was Associate Editor of Cross-Canada Writers’ Quarterly/Magazine and also led writing workshops for the Toronto Board of Education, Ryerson Literary Society, and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. Currently, she directs the online poetry course Lessons in Writing the Poem. She is a longstanding member of the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers’ Union of Canada.