The Perfect Unravelling of the Spirit

The Perfect Unravelling of the Spirit is about memory of being, being in body, spirit and speculation. It unravels the remembrances and cognitions forged in the mind as it recalls life through images that are intensely reflective, transtemporal, sensual, daunting and mournful, sometimes feeling like never-ending, lazy arias. As we move from poem to poem, we dwell in magnificent displays of sensations, ideas, and moods, happy and sorrowful, pleading and celebratory, allowing ourselves to reconstruct life through the physicality of the body or the world, perceiving their pulsating powers and anchoring ourselves in the house that we sometimes forget we have. The collection is also about memory of place, of family, of birth, and memory obtained through formal learning, and how that memory, in all its dimensions, is transposed to the page, recreated and reinvented. Deeply philosophic as well as lyrical, the collection interrogates the idea of memory in multiple narratives that juxtapose various modes of expression, argumentation, mood, imagery, tone, and cultural references.

The Perfect Unravelling of the Spirit ties the secular rituals of everyday to sacred rites of passage, binding language to love and longing, and to the livelihoods that are Irene Marques’ birthright. These poems bring new and old worlds into dialogue, and poetry into the presence of timeless, generous spirits.”
–Edward Chamberlin, If This is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?

Praise for Irene Marques’ Wearing Glasses of Water:

“What impresses most in Irene Marques’s first book of poetry, are the expansive situations she creates. Rarely does small abide over large, or unadorned show instead of ornate, for this Portuguese-born Canadian writer revels in abundance and lush coloring. Call this fat poetry, not thin. At its best it reminds me of the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez: everything writ large and interconnected.”
–ARC: Canada’s National Poetry Magazine

“The essence of Marques’s poetry is a peep into the complex dimensions and psychological states of being, of creativeness and inventiveness with the Word, of themes and motifs of libidinal drives or instincts, of internal emotional conflicts where individual impulses and needs must be placed in ethical resolution with social or moral obligations.”
–African Journal of New Poetry


Publication Date: September 2012

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-894770-96-5
Page size: 5.5″ x 8.25″
120 pages

Irene Marques holds a PhD in Comparative Literature, a Masters in French Literature, a Masters in Comparative Literature and a Bachelor of Social Work. She is a bilingual writer (English and Portuguese) and has taught African and Caribbean literatures, comparative and world literature, literary theory, and writing and rhetoric at the Ontario College of Art and Design University for the last seven years. In the past she was a lecturer in Portuguese and a TA at University of Toronto and also worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for the last 14 years. Her academic publications include the edited volume The Works of Chin Ce: A Critical Overview (2007), the manuscript Transnational Discourses on Class, Gender, and Cultural Identity (2012) and numerous articles in international journals including African Identities: Journal of Economics, Culture and Society, Research in African Literatures, and CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture. Her published works of fiction include Wearing Glasses of Water (poetry, 2007), Habitando na Metáfora do Tempo: Crónicas Desejadas (short stories, 2009) and The Circular Incantation (prose poetry, 2013). In 2019, she won the Prémio Imprensa Nacional/Ferreira de Castro (National Press Award) in Portugal for her novel Uma Casa no Mundo (A House in the World), to be published in 2020 by Imprensa Nacional.