Is this life a route or a destination?
Alyda Faber's assured début examines the ties that bind us to one another and to the Earth we inhabit, and asks the question, What is left of us when we are gone?
In the quiet and unsettling poems of Dust or Fire, Faber speaks from the grief following death to explore the meaning of love and family. She is not afraid of gaps and ellipses, finding music in the silences. Her unflinching gaze explores the imperfections of our fleeting existence, our ambitions and relationships, our flawed humanity. Documenting the search for home, the longing to belong, to love and be loved, she turns to the ways love can curve toward pain, how we carelessly hurt one another, but also how we find the grace to forgive and carry on. Dust or Fire is a moving collection, at once grounding and uplifting.
"Family and its aftermath, how to honour the devastation and save the girl? Circling around her parents' meeting in a Frisian train station, Alyda Faber, at turns austere and lyric, elliptical and direct, zeroes in on love and fear until the atom splits. She gifts us with some of the best writing about family by a Canadian poet in many years."
"To open the pages of Alyda Faber's Dust or Fire is to embark on a questing journey into the fragmentary elusiveness of family history, the threatened survival of Frisian — the language of Friesland — and the precariousness of life itself. along the way, the reader is repeatedly left breathless by the shimmering images and the intricately clever metaphoric wordplay Faber wields in her remarkably accomplished debut poetry collection."