The Burden of Gravity (2020 – Caitlin Press)
In her debut poetry collection, Shannon McConnell explores the fraught history of New Westminster’s Woodlands School, a former “lunatic asylum” opened in 1878 which later became a custodial training school for children with disabilities before its closure in 1996. Partially set in the 1960s and 70s, The Burden of Gravity uses personas to imagine residents’ lives, giving voice to those who were unable to speak for themselves, to shift focus from the institutional authority to the experience of residents. As poetry of witness, the collection uses a grounding tone to excavate the individual experiences through traditional narrative, ekphrastic and experimental erasure forms that elicit an array of emotions, from heartbreak to anger. Drawn from archival research, The Burden of Gravity, challenges readers to consider how we, in the aftermath of deinstitutionalization, choose to remember institutions like Woodlands School.
John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award for Poetry – Second Place (The Burden of Gravity) – October 2018
Saskatchewan Book Awards – Ministry of Culture, Recreation, and Sport First Book Award – June 24, 2021
Saskatchewan Book Awards – SK Arts Poetry Award Honouring Anne Szumigalski (shortlisted)
Saskatchewan Book Awards – City of Saskatoon/Saskatoon Public Library Saskatoon Award (shortlisted)
“What Happens After Your Test” apart: a year of pandemic poetry and prose. June 2021. Poetry.
“Trans-Canada” USask MFA in Writing Variety Show – April 30, 2021. Poetry.
“The Disease” USask MFA in Writing Variety Show – April 30, 2021. Poetry.
“A West Coast Wimp in a Prairie Winter” The Anti-Languorous Project. Fall 2018. Poetry.
“The Burden of Gravity” In Medias Res. Fall 2017. Poetry.
“It was a weird night” Tonight It’s Poetry: Poetry All Over The Floor Anthology. May 2017. Poetry.
“52.1332°N 106.6700°W” The Society. St. Peter’s College. Volume 14, 2017. Poetry.
“A Poem in Two Parts created from Lines of Tinder Profiles That Make Me Consider Joining a Convent, Maybe.” Rat’s Ass Review. Summer 2017. Poetry.
“Gum Wall” The Fieldstone Review. Summer 2016. Poetry.
“Snap” The Fieldstone Review. Summer 2016. Fiction.
“Take Off” untethered 3.1. August 2016. Poetry.
“The Temple Bar” Louden Singletree Literary and Arts Magazine Issue No. 6. Spring 2014. Poetry.
“molly malone” Louden Singletree Literary and Arts Magazine Issue No. 5. Spring 2013. Poetry.
“Fighting Mondays” Louden Singletree Literary and Arts Magazine Issue No. 5. Spring 2013. Novel Excerpt.
“lament” Louden Singletree Literary and Arts Magazine Issue No. 4 Spring 2012. Poetry.
“tangled coasts” Louden Singletree Literary and Arts Magazine Issue No. 3. Spring 2011. Poetry.
“beyond the showbox”
“departure” Louden Singletree Literary and Arts Magazine Issue No. 2. September 2010. Poetry.