Emerging from the expanse of bewildered mourning, Su Croll’s third collection, Cold Metal Stairs, is a timely lament for those who wander deeper into the mists of failing memory, and for those who are left behind, waiting. With profound care, Croll breaks open the quiet conversations happening across the nation about dementia by bringing readers to her father’s bedside to witness his final years, months, hours, and the days that follow. Tender and aching, Croll’s verse confronts the imperfect, heart-rending act of remembering the moments, and ghosts, that linger.
In Cold Metal Stairs, Su Croll takes us on a harrowing journey into the mystery, tragedy, and weirdness of dementia. The poems astonish and make you weep. Her masterful use of litany, repetition, and tight formal vessels creates an effect similar to a spiritual practice. In every way—as art, as wisdom, and as memorial—this is a thrilling collection.
—Nancy Holmes, The Flicker Tree: Okanagan Poems
We are at a unique moment in history as many of us age into once rare and tragic conditions. In Su Croll’s Cold Metal Stairs, we follow her father’s long fall to dementia and the way his growing absence comes to define the family’s narrowing world. Yet even as that great darkness envelopes her, Croll's poems do not surrender in their pain. Instead, they let us hold on with her, and find the ways in which love shared with the dead returns, even in grieving, to life.
—Richard Harrison, On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood
So closely does she acquaint us with the pain of dementia that we squirm and even wish, like her, for an end. But to remain with Croll until the final pages of Cold Metal Stairs is to appreciate her courage. Because this is where she addresses the months, then years following her father’s passing in poems that announce a return from the dark passages of grief.
—Marguerite Pigeon, League of Canadian Poets
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