‘Amid these personal memories, cultural memories of violence and hardship surface throughout these poems…’


Away (Signature Editions, 2008)

Away is inspired by travels abroad. Never leaving Canada far behind, Andrea MacPherson takes us with her on her grand tour of Europe from Ireland and Scotland to France and Greece, where the vast legacy of human history and her own ancestral origins mark her so subtly that, as a record of her stay in each country, she assembles suites of deft, personal lyrics that probe the mystery of estrangement from the familiar and the shock of the old’s sometimes anticipated, sometimes unexpected, impress.

Whether she is crossing the uneasy if commonplace border between north and south in Ireland, visiting the ruins of a jute mill where her Scottish great-grandmother once worked, stopping for a kir on a ruelle in Montparnasse, or voyaging out by ferry into blue clarities of the Aegean, MacPherson is a traveller always aware of how her perceptions—and her self—are being shaped. In this book of quiet beauty and careful observation, MacPherson embarks on re-inventing the travel poem on her own terms. What she brings with her as a poet is more than equal to what she encounters. Away marks a voice that knows what it is for the heart and mind to journey.

MacPherson’s second collection Away: Poems contains travel poems that narrate a making of the unfamiliar personal. On a journey that charts characters and events in family histories, the poems are grouped according to geography: Ireland, Scotland, France and Greece.

Read the full review here.


While none of the poems experiments particularly with the travel genre, each section captures a snapshot moment. What you’ll find here is steady, dependable reflections on what it means to journey.

Read the full review here. Erin Wunker

Canadian Literature