Patricia Young

Patricia YoungPatricia Young has published nine collections of poetry and one of short fiction. She has won numerous awards for her poetry, including the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the Dorothy Livesay Award, the Bliss Carmen Award, the National Magazine Award, the League of Canadian Poets’ National Poetry Competition and Arc’s Poem of the Year Competition. Two of her collections have been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry.

Airstream, her collection of short fiction, received the inaugural Rooke-Metcalf Award and was shortlisted for the Butler Prize and named one of the Globe and Mail’s best books of the year. In 2008 and 2009 selections of her poetry were shortlisted for the CBC literary competition. She has two grown children and lives in Victoria, B. C. with her husband, the writer, Terence Young.

Titles by the Author

An Auto-erotic History of Swings

Patricia Young’s latest book of poems dances, cavorts and sings through the prehistory of our species. Epic in scope, An Auto-erotic History of Swings is about sex and God and sublime imagination.


Buy from StoreQuotations from Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), an English physician who studied and wrote widely about human sexuality and argued with Freud, provide springboards for a variety of narrators in the first section. A quieter wistful voice asserts itself as the second section unfolds and the voice of God closes the book.

Young has taken snapshots of reality and dream and collaged the snippets into finely crafted poems and shaped the whole work into an end-of-the-world text. This is a sermon for the body, from the body, “the antidote to apathy,” as stated in a poem from the point of view of an erection. This is a dervish of a book, whose images in quantity and variety rival those adorning Indian temples that deify and celebrate physical human love. The poems are almost never still, except when the eternal moment at the centre of a loving relationship is briefly revealed. They spin in their own orbits, taking on gender issues and feminism, ecological issues, the domestic sphere.

Patricia Young’s voices call for a new look at our bodies and for fresh insights into relationship. Here is a fanfare to relationships’ place in the human enterprise inspired by an unstoppable up-welling of human spirit.

Watch a video of Patricia Young reciting the title poem from An Auto-erotic History of Swings.

Download a pdf information sheet about An Auto-erotic History of Swings.

Breaking the Surface

Marilyn Bowering, Lorna Crozier, Susan Musgrave, Linda Rogers, Patricia Young, and introducing fifteen new voices

In this unique book, five acclaimed Canadian poets offer their own superbly crafted new work alongside that of fifteen exciting new voices. Not only inspired reading, Breaking the Surface offers Buy from Storenew insights into the poetic imagination of a country internationally renowned for fine writing.

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