For Your Safety Please Hold On
by Kayla Czaga
"For Your Safety Please Hold On is Czaga’s answer to Moure’s Domestic Fuel and Solie’s Short Haul Engine... and like Moure and Solie we don’t need to expect great things from her. Great things are already here." —Elizabeth Bachinsky
Short-listed: Governor General's Literary Award (2015)
Short-listed: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (2015)
Short-listed: Debut-litzer Prize (2015)
Winner: Gerald Lampert Memorial Award (2015)
Book DescriptionFor Your Safety Please Hold On is a truly remarkable first poetry collection from debut talent Kayla Czaga. Her poems are already making waves—several from this collection have received award attention, including: The Fiddlehead's 23rd annual Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, The Malahat Review's 2012 Far Horizon's Award for Poetry and an Editor's Choice Award in ARC Poetry Magazine's 2012 Poem of the Year Contest. They have also been shortlisted for The New Quarterly's 2013 Occasional Verse Contest, longlisted for CBC's 2013 Canada Writes Poetry Contest and have appeared in literary publications across North America.
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.