The Porcupine's Quill
My first collection of short stories.
"From the publisher: "A haunted mother is terrorized by spectral visions of twins. A young academic reminisces on the past, and a long-lost film, as she watches her apartment building burn. A carefree woman tears through Toronto dance halls during the second World War.
The characters in Frances Boyle's debut collection, are, above all, shaped by creative expression. Through dance, literature, film, and visual art, Boyle's stories explore how these mediums affect our worldview and the decisions we make, resulting in consequences that are not always easy to swallow.
Demonstrating both a skilled restraint and poetic flair, Boyle lifts her subjects from troubled, complicated lives to ask hard questions of themselves and, ultimately, be redeemed."
This White Nest
"In trees illuminated against sky,
one reverse-image nest, and another
—each a distinct knot, but branch
is joined to branch. They diverge
My second collection of poetry, This White Nest continues to explore shadows and absences, the human and natural worlds while also shifting focus to other settings, employing and engaging with voices that are more archetypal and/or universal. Many of the poems touch on ghosts, memory and some grief.
."... A beam
swings up a hill, makes sculpture of the clouds,
carves out the road, bulky, solid. ...
You want to live forever with your family in the space
within the passage carved by light. "
(from "Momentum" )
Fish Gotta Swim Editions, June 1, 2018
From the publisher: "The night the Mounties came, my sleep had already been disturbed by a small but insistent wail coming from the garden below my bedroom window.
There was a baby in my cabbage patch.
And so begins the tale of Arlys, who grows vegetables and roses, and Chicory, the baby she adopts and nurtures in a farmhouse on a small coastal island. Can she keep Chicory safe forever or will the girl eventually fall in love with a damaged prince, will the carefully constructed edifice of motherhood and care survive or collapse, taking the roses down with it? Is there a happy ending for Chicory, for Torque, the edgy street artist who makes dark and beautiful murals in chalk, only to see them wash away in rain? Tower is a modern fable, an intricate tapestry of longing and danger, its pattern shifting over time and place, the tendrils ready to wrap us into its story. "
“Frances Boyle has the clear eye of a poet, along with a discerning ear for dialogue and a fine sense of story-telling. Combining these writerly qualities with careful understanding and compassion for her characters, she brings them vividly to life in this moving rendition of an old tale. Brilliant!”
- Isabel Huggan
BuschekBooks November 2014
From the publisher: "The poems knot and weave, tracing connections through tangles of family histories and paths along rivers. Shadows and absences permeate the collection as does an intensity of personal focus... a quest to fill lacks by divining their true names, while acknowledging the implacable tenacity of the unnameable."
"An overall composure to the writing gives her words a rare dash of grace. But make no mistake, there's a heart that can break here as well, a vulnerability that makes the lines shimmer with tension" - Barry Dempster
"... a rich, rewarding collection of poems that range from lyrical snapshots of daily life to disarmingly honest and deeply potent ghost-walks into the heart's dark, forbidden zones." - John Steffler
"Key elements of the collection ... firm narrative, intensely personal voice, rich imagery, masterful line-breaks and a subtle attention to sound." - Rob Thomas
Apples and Roses
cover art by Manahil Bandukwala
"You dissolved off the screen, Dot as child and young woman, mom to us,
I’d seek you hard in fairy tale quest, task the gaff-rigged Dorothy to spell
your name Dorothy, in the semaphore of her sails, (plant a rose for me)
launching from time-rocked ocean to tangled notion of wooden ship
and flying house whirlpooled in its funnel cloud, banging wind, the pull
of the tale, and the round table where Mrs. Parker drawled about girls
who wear glasses and Marie of Romania, her wit a charm to the circle of wits
vicious through they were, the round table of that New York moment,
while you were a girl in Toronto. Come night you vanished into the shapeless,
the ready intake of breath. Angels brought three apples, three roses, my purpose."
Tree Press / The Tree Reading Series
This chapbook was the winner of the Tree Reading Series chapbook competition. It is concerned with liminal spaces, with entryways, with 'portals'.
"The poems in Portal Stones are personal and particular, evoking certain rooms and moods, certain rivers and roads, and certain members of a certain family; but while the subject matter is local and sometimes 'pebble-small' as the poet puts it, there is an expansive, even adventurous metaphorical intelligence at work here, fanning out to explore the wider connections that run between one thing and another." -- Bruce Taylor, contest judge