Home > Interviews > Spring Issue Teaser: “When Does the Hunger Begin?” by Adèle Barclay

aZ6sUxkHAs a teaser for our exciting, star-packed Spring Issue (54:3), we have a poem by Adèle Barclay, our latest poetry-crush here at PRISM. This is only one of six poems we’re publishing, so make sure to pick up the issue if you enjoyed this one! These poems will also appear in Adèle’s debut poetry collection, If I Were In a Cage I’d Reach Out For You, (Nightwood Editions, Fall 2016). We’re really excited to introduce new readers to Adèle’s poetry, and to give some of her fans a little preview of her book. Enjoy the magic!


To make syrup from autumn, drain bourbon,
brown sugar and ice into your bottle of night.

We have fields to bury inside books and a trapeze funeral
to choreograph before you donate your body to the humanities.

Galleries of edge-worn memoirs to launch into space.
Death by shark or too busy reading stars?

Vegas shoved our cherry-skulls through coin slot—
I’m still shaking monkeys off my impersonations.

Nightmares in a mirror above a waterbed:
I say your name three times and your brother appears.

The thicker the air, the higher the balloon—
you need me to be a fountain in a lobby of flamingos.

There are men smoking cigarillos in the sink,
they want my polka dots.

Mermaid malls emit elevators of sunshine.
We took our pets to the desert and told them to stay.


Adèle Barclay has an M.A. in English Literature from McGill University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria, where she holds a Canadian Graduate Scholarship. She’s writing a dissertation on American poetry and film. Her debut poetry collection was shortlisted for the 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and is forthcoming from Nightwood Editions in 2016. She used to do social media for Wave Books. Lately, she’s been curating links for Canadian Women In the Literary Arts and has become The Rusty Toque‘s Interviews Editor.