40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology, Ed. Jason Lee Norman

“People will see us walking down the street and they’ll think that the clouds from our exhalations are smoke from the fire we’ve just consumed. The myth will grow so large that people will…come from miles around and they’ll ask us how they can be warm too. They’ll come from places where it’s never cold like Ecuador and Greece and they’ll ask us where the fire comes from.”
— Jason Lee Norman

I read 40 Below from the poem on page 1 following along to the acknowledgements on page 205, and I wonder if I did it right. The book brings a crisp breath of life to our metaphors for, emotions about and concepts of winter that it almost asks to be read in an unconventional way. This collection takes winter’s snow globe off the shelf, dusts it off with a mitted hand, and gives it a shake. I should have treated the book in a similar fashion and flipped at its pages until my thumb tripped and stopped at a story or poem, making that my read for the day. If I spread it out, there are enough fresh outlooks to sustain me for the days of Edmonton’s winter (all 212 of them).

I plan on returning to this book and giving more pause to “the source of snowflakes,” “lungs aching in winter,” “a hormonal temperamental teen roaring toward adulthood,” “a sound winter carries on the wind.” But for now, I need to pass this on to one of the many ‘Stravaganzers who requested to borrow it.

40Below

Books Read: 3

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2 responses to “40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology, Ed. Jason Lee Norman

  1. I did the same thing, read front to back and felt like I was reading it the most boring way possible, and should have done more flipping and random page opening!

  2. I’m a contributor and I also read it from front to back. But you’re absolutely right. It’s a flipping book, one to pick up again and again, stopping on the story that calls to you on that day!

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