Home > News > In Memory of Elise Partridge


All of us at PRISM are saddened by the passing of poet Elise Partridge. Her collections Fielder’s Choice and Chameleon Hours garnered awards and praise, and her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Walrus and Slate, among others.

We were lucky enough to feature Elise’s poetry in our Fall issue 53.1: “Before the Fall”, “The Alphabet” and “If Clouds Had Strings”. Her collection, The Exiles’ Gallery, will be published by House of Anansi this spring.

I first heard Elise read at CCWWP last summer, and was captivated by her poetry; and then by her kindness. Elise went as far as emailing to tell us how much she enjoyed the posts on PRISM‘s site, and that the editors all seemed like such nice people. And when I said that her message had made my day, she said that hearing that had made her day! It was a very small thing, but Elise’s thoughtfulness stayed with me, and I’ve heard of many other instances like that.

Many people have written about their personal connections with Elise, including our poetry editor Rob Taylor, who wrote as part of a larger post:

Looking back, I am humbled to have been included among the lucky few (or many) that Elise connected with, and in awe at the scope of her giving even in a time of great illness. Or, I should say, in awe that the illness changed nothing, that this giving out of hers was not an expendable part of her daily routine but simply was her life. What could she do but live it?

Shortly after I heard about Elise’s passing last Saturday, I found myself reading one of her poems on the 99 bus. “Prognosis: 50-50”, a poem from Chameleon Hours, is featured on Poetry in Transit, and it opens:

-To ride as hard at life
as that ten-year-old girl
galloping flat-out over the prairie!

(Chameleon Hours, 2008)

I doubt I’ll forget those lines, or Elise’s kindness.

If you are interested in making a donation in Elise Partridge’s memory, a new website has been established in her honour, on which her family has outlined Elise’s wishes for donations.