Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor

CROZIER, LORNA (b. 1948)

Born on May 24, 1948, and raised in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, poet, anthologist, and professor Lorna Crozier writes predominantly of life on the Canadian Great Plains. Frequent reprintings of her new and selected poems, The Garden Going on without Us (1985), and her characteristically packed public readings attest to her work's broad appeal. Its humor, rich imagery, and unpretentious language prompt many people to recognize aspects of their own lives. Crozier's sometimes spicy stew of frank sexuality and trenchant but witty feminist critique has, however, overpowered some palettes.

The strength of Crozier's identification with the land is evident in the title of her first collection, Inside Is the Sky (1976), while her kinship with its creatures, which in "Inventing the Hawk" makes her feel the bird's scream rising from her belly to echo in her skull, is sometimes stronger than the connection she feels to humans. Her affection for Prairie people is, nevertheless, palpable in everything from the tall tales of "Spring Storm, 1916" to her description in "Home Town" of a freshman history student who identifies the Holy Land as something like Christ's hometown. The warmth of such feelings does not, however, blind her to the racism, misogyny, and pettiness of some hometown people.

Crozier often reworks Christian and patriarchal accounts of origin and existence. Her rewriting of Genesis in "On the Seventh Day" explains the thin strip of earth beneath the massive skies of the Great Plains: a forgetful God was without His wife to remind Him that He had already created light, so He kept repeating this step, leaving scant space for land. A Saving Grace (1996) gives new voice and a richer female consciousness to Sinclair Ross's Mrs. Bentley, narrator of As for Me and My House, imagining, for example, the kind of domestic violence that might go on in the house of a woman who jumps into a dry well with her baby and lies there silently for three days ("The Kind of Woman").

Susan Gingell University of Saskatchewan

Gingell, Susan. "Let Us Revise Mythologies: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier." Essays on Canadian Writing 43 (1991): 67– 82.

Hillis, Doris. "The Real Truth, the Poetic Truth: An Interview with Lorna Crozier." Prairie Fire 6 (1985): 4–15.

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