Moving to Delilah

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Pub Date Apr 01 2024 | Archive Date May 01 2024

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Description

From award-winning poet Catherine Owen, a collection of poems about one woman’s journey from BC to a new life in Alberta, where she buys an old house and creates a new meaning of home.

In search of stability and rootedness, in 2018 Catherine Owen moved from coastal Vancouver to prairie Edmonton. There, she purchased a house built more than one hundred years earlier: a home named Delilah.

Beginning from a space of grief that led to Owen’s relocation, the poems in this collection inhabit the home, its present and its past. These poems share the stories of decades of renovations, the full lives of Delilah’s previous inhabitants, and Owen’s triumphs and failures in the ever-evolving garden. The poems ultimately whirl out in the concentric distances of the local neighbourhood and beyond — though one house can make a home, home encompasses so much more than one house.

In this exceptional and lyrical collection, Catherine Owen interrogates her need for economic itinerancy, traces the passage of time and the later phases of grief, and deepens her understanding of rootedness, both in place and in poetic forms.

From award-winning poet Catherine Owen, a collection of poems about one woman’s journey from BC to a new life in Alberta, where she buys an old house and creates a new meaning of home.

In search of...


Advance Praise

Praise for Catherine Owen

“In her capable poetic hands . . . emotions find crystalline expression and these pieces attain indelible life for their deft separating of what is truly important from the emotional chaff that occupies a typical life.” VANCOUVER SUN

“Owen writes down to the bone.” QUILL AND QUIRE

Praise for Catherine Owen

“In her capable poetic hands . . . emotions find crystalline expression and these pieces attain indelible life for their deft separating of what is truly important from the...


Marketing Plan

• National tour with dates in AB, BC, SK, and ON

• Launch in Edmonton in conjuction with Edmonton Poetry Festival and National Poetry Month

• Press in 49th Shelf, CBC Books, Edmonton Journal, Alberta Views

• Advertising in Literary Review of Canada, Alberta Views

• Digital ARCs on Edelweiss and NetGalley with strong engagement from book influencers and blogs

• Physical ARCs to Publisher’s Weekly, major Canadian literary magazines

• Nationwide pitches to literary festivals

• National tour with dates in AB, BC, SK, and ON

• Launch in Edmonton in conjuction with Edmonton Poetry Festival and National Poetry Month

• Press in 49th Shelf, CBC Books, Edmonton Journal, Alberta...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781990601583
PRICE CA$19.95 (CAD)
PAGES 136

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 12 members


Featured Reviews

As cities get more and more crowded and rents move ever higher, sometimes there's only one thing to do—evacuate to more affordable areas. That's just what Owens did: dreaming of a place of her own, she left Vancouver for Edmonton, into a century-old saltbox house. "It surely would not, not now, or ever, let you down. It surely would not, not now (or never?) let you down." (loc. 72*)

I appreciate (and understand) poetry best when it is rooted in the concrete, and in many ways "Moving to Delilah" is the epitome of that—a hunt for roots, for permanence, for a foundation.

"Inside an empty cupboard we found the permit to build, its back scarred with tack marks, front bearing the contractor's name and a list of tasks to be checked off. None were. Or else the yellowed progression of time had swallowed the ticks that claimed the foundation (yes) had been finished or the frame (yes), the base (yes). We can see the evidence, the proof it was, yet the record is gone.

How much we rely
On the writing in the sand
Near a hungry sea." (loc. 170)

A mix of prose poetry and straight verse, "Moving to Delilah" chronicles those first years of home ownership and putting down roots, sometimes literally (gardening) and sometimes less so (digging into the history of the house and the land). It's an understated story—no big dramas, focused on rootedness rather than restlessness and permanence of place rather than more ephemeral emotions. A satisfying read.

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.

*Quotes are from an ARC and may not be final.

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Employing an impressive variety of poetic formats and genres, Cathrine Owen romanticizes her relationship with her new house “Delilah” and the process of creating home. Serving as a memoir for both the author and the structure itself, I was compelled to foster a certain fondness for my house and gratitude for my own home’s history. Thank you to the author and NetGalley.

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Catherine Owen's latest collection, "Moving to Delilah," showcases her exceptional command of form, imagery, and metaphor, as expected from such a seasoned poet. Divided into distinct sections such as "Prologues," "The House," "The Garden," and "The Neighbourhood," the tome unfolds like a tender love letter to her newfound home. Throughout the collection, Owen's tone is deeply intimate, inviting readers into her most personal moments. Despite my unfamiliarity with the locales she describes, Owen's vivid descriptions breathe life into every location and shared experience, transporting readers as if they were intimately acquainted with each setting. Her profound connections to the people she encounters are palpable, particularly evident in poems like "Mona's Pub, 118th Avenue," where she transforms her local haunt into a sanctuary where "the poison becomes the balm." Additionally, Owen's exploration of archives and historical headlines adds a captivating layer of depth to the collection, offering readers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of the city's past. While the garden section may verge on repetitive at times, one must consider Owen's novice status as a gardener, which lends an understandable charm to her descriptions. I found myself yearning for more poems centered around the house itself, yet the collection as a whole remains a compelling read. One notable aspect of "Moving to Delilah" is Owen's seemingly more relaxed voice, a departure from her previous works. While this shift may not align with my personal preferences, it undoubtedly broadens the appeal of the collection, making it accessible to a wider audience. Overall, "Moving to Delilah" stands as a testament to Owen's prowess as a poet and is a worthy addition to her oeuvre. Its eloquent verse and heartfelt reflections are sure to resonate with readers, making it a must-read for poetry enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

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“Is this much nostalgia strange in a world bent on erasure, elision?”

This was quite the wholesome afternoon read. Moving to Delilah dissects the notion of home, retracing the author’s journey with her home, Delilah. This felt like part memoir, part poetry. Quite enjoyed this.

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