Late poet Patrick Lane’s final book of poems published posthumously, compiled by poet, partner Lorna Crozier

Canadian poet and author Patrick Lane wrote several award-winning novels, essays and poems during his many decades as a writer, and now, his last book of poetry has been released, posthumously.

The Quiet in Mewhich contemplates the quiet of living and reveals a life filled with beauty and pain, was compiled and edited by his wife, poet Lorna Crozier.

Lane, who died in 2019 at age 79, gave Crozier a folder of poems prior to his death, and told her he believed there was a book to be made.

Crozier, Lane’s literary executor, used those and some other poems she found on his computer to form the book.

“It was kind of difficult, as you can imagine, because I had to get back into Patrick’s mind and Patrick’s heart while I was feeling a lot of grief,” she told on the island host Gregor Craigie.

“It took a certain amount of toughness, I guess, and saying to myself, now you can do this, you can do this.”

A literary executor is someone entrusted with managing a deceased writer’s unpublished works.

“I guess every writer in the world has to think about this,” Crozier said. “Just like we need wills, we need people who will look after the words that we leave scattered around our offices.”

Patrick Lane’s poetry garnered countless accolades and honours, among them the Governor General’s Award, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, multiple National Magazine Awards and the Order of Canada. Over his distinguished 50-year career, he has produced 25 volumes of poetry as well as several books of fiction and non-fiction. (Patricklane.ca)

The pair, who met in the late ’70s, shared their work with one another through the years, and even co-authored and edited books together.

Crozier said they were delicate, but honest with one another about their writings. But without Lane around to talk to about the changes she was making, she worried she wasn’t always making the right choices.

A writer herself, she had to be careful not to shape the piece her way, and away from his, she says.

“What I ended up doing was kind of having a conversation with him, trying to channel him. I’d say ‘Patrick, what do you think? I’m going to take this line out, and I hope you’re okay with that, sweetheart.’ And then I would remove the line and hope that I had done the right thing.”

Lorna Crozier is a Governor General’s Literary Award-winning poet who has written more than 15 books, including The House the Spirit Builds, God of Shadows and What the Soul Doesn’t Want. Her memoir of her, Through the Garden, about her partnership with her and Lane, was published in 2020. (Chris Hancock Donaldson)

As is with much of Lane’s work, the poems in The Quiet in Me often touch on nature.

“Patrick was always the poet of the natural world,” Crozier said.

“He was very, very connected.”

Crozier feels her partner’s connection to nature came from his idyllic childhood, growing up in BC’s Okanagan region before it became a tourism hub for the province’s Interior.

“He ranged free as a boy, as a kind of wild child. And it was in his blood, in his bones, to worry about what we are doing to the planet and the destruction that we have caused.”

Crozier says this will be Lane’s final book of poetry, unless someone hands her another collection of poems she’s not aware of.

However, she says there may be another work of fiction — she hasn’t had time to go through those files just yet.

“He was very particular, very hard on himself,” Crozier said. “He wouldn’t want anything second rate to go out there, so I also have to have that hardness of mind when I look at what he’s left behind.”

The Quiet in Me was released on April 2, 2022.

On The Island10:03A new collection of poems is out this month, from the late Patrick Lane. His wife of him, and publisher, Lorna Crozier

Gregor Craigie spoke with poet Lorna Crozier, and the final collection of her late husband Patrick Lane’s poetry. The Quiet in Me is out now. 10:03

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