For Your Safety Please Hold On
The poems in For Your Safety Please Hold On move in thematic focus from family, to girlhood, to adulthood, each permeated by Czaga's lively voice and quick-witted, playful language. They test the line between honest humour and bitter reality in a sophisticated, incisive manner that tugs at the gut and feels true.
The linguistic hopscotch of Czaga's poems about girlhood is often beautifully juxtaposed with feelings of menace or a first taste of smothering expectations: "She sits. She sips her bright pink fingers. / She slips into smart short haircuts, yes, / she does so, and does herself up just so."
While her pin prick meditations on contemporary adulthood suggest a yearning for personal meaning and purpose on a larger scale: "I still wander, sometimes, / my coat closing the world out of my body, with pockets / full of garbage, with my slender steady want. I still / make the bed and at bedtime unmake it."
The irrepressible energy of the poems in For Your Safety Please Hold On, paired with their complex balancing act between light and dark, humour and melancholy, innocence and danger, make this collection an extraordinary first offering. (From Nightwood Editions)
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Kayla Czaga is the author of For Your Safety Please Hold On and Dunk Tank. Her debut won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, among others. Czaga was on the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Drunk River.
She lives in Victoria and served as the online poetry mentor for Simon Fraser University's The Writer's Studio.