Elise Partridge

The story starts with this poem about X in the April 2nd issue of the New York Review of Books:

X, a C.V.

I stand, legs astride, a colossus—
or dancer in fifth position, wide port de bras.
Polymorph strayed into English,

sometimes pronounced like Americans’ z,
in French I’m often silent; in Pirahã the glottal stop;
a fricative in Somali.

Vector, Cartesian axis,
chromosome, bowling-strike. Pirate-map cynosure;
at a letter’s close, a kiss.

I do plebeian duty in tic-tac-toe,
range marble façades. Paired with y, I dodge—
variable incognito.

I lend myself to comets of cryptic orbit,
ally with rays that pierce time’s edge.
I’m default sci-fi planets.

In my Roman hours,
I was ten.—Later, the name of millions:
those never granted an alphabet’s power.

Then I read the contributors’ notes in the NYRB.

Elise Partridge is the author of The Exiles’ Gallery, a collection of poetry, which is published this month. Her collected poems will be published in 2016 by NYRB Poets. She died in early 2015.

There is a memorial website for her here.

From a brief obit in the February 2nd Globe and Mail (a longer obit is still to come):

Partridge, an award-winning writer beloved by a Canadian poetry community that adopted her as one of their own, died on Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 56.

She came to Vancouver in 1992, as she told the poet Evan Jones in a 2012 interview, “because my partner had been offered a job there.” Raised in Pennsylvania, she studied at Harvard University (including under the poet Robert Lowell), the University of Cambridge, Boston University and the University of British Columbia. She published her first collection of poetry in 2002; Fielder’s Choice was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, which honours the best first book of poetry published in Canada each year.

… She leaves her husband, Stephen Partridge, a professor of medieval literature at UBC.

Her last poems were very much last poems, talking about her colon cancer and saying goodbye to those she was close to.

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