Her most recent collection...

This Horizon and Beyond
This Horizon and Beyond
Poems Selected and New
by Nancy-Gay Rotstein

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Canada AM interview (CTV)
with Nancy-Gay Rotstein
from Beijing, China


Read Nancy-Gay Rotstein's Biography

Nancy-Gay Rotstein started writing poetry as a child. She was first published in Canada’s national magazine Chatelaine when she was 12 years old (her grandmother had sent her poem to the magazine, which accepted it without any idea it was written by a child).

Her first book, THROUGH THE EYES OF A WOMAN which contained poems about the family and family experiences, was praised by the Ottawa Citizen as “poetry for the people without any sacrifice of craft.” Following its publication, at the recommendation of literary critics and of other poets, she decided to hold further family poems for release as a unit in order to encompass the full circle of family life. These poems, written over a 25-year period, have been presented together for the first time in THIS HORIZON AND BEYOND. “What impresses me [about her family poetry],” wrote Irving Layton in the Foreword “is her realism, a nice warm human realism... The other unusual thing about her children’s poems is their universality. She has compressed all mother’s feelings about their progeny with an impressive freshness and vigor.”

Of her second title, TAKING OFF, the Toronto Star stated: “There’s a maturity which puts the writer into the first ranks of our poets. Although her canvas is much wider and broader today, she has not lost the intimacy and insight into personal experiences and emotion that touch us.”

It was her third volume, CHINA: SHOCKWAVES, published in the United States and Canada in 1987, and the United Kingdom in 1989, that drew international attention. Invited on a special literary visa that allowed her unrestricted travel within the People’s Republic of China in 1980, she was one of the early foreigners to enter China after the Cultural Revolution. Given the unique opportunity to explore places usually barred to outside visitors, she recorded in poetry her impressions of this land, its people and its future. She writes about her three and half-day ferry journey down the Yangtze River through the Gorges, traveling with hundreds of villagers from the area, and she depicts through poetry such intriguing individuals as the Ambassador to Beijing and a City Block Captain. “It is a rare collection in that it is one of the few, in poetry or prose, by a Westerner that goes beyond the surface of China,” wrote United Press International upon the book’s publication. “It took a poet, rather than a politician, and a poet's perception, to recognize the dangerous brink on which China stood — and to predict it long before it happened” wrote the Eastern Daily Press (U.K.) and The Scotsman praised her for “a prescience which now seems extraordinary… Rotstein realized as early as 1980 that China was heading for another political revolution.”

Nancy-Gay Rotstein’s poetry reflects a strong awareness of time and place based on her extensive historical interests and background and encompasses as well her many passions and concerns. In addition to her poems on China and her family poems, THIS HORIZON AND BEYOND: Poems Selected and New contains poetry about her travels to Italy, Greece, Israel, the Caribbean, Switzerland and Japan; the power, breadth and beauty of Canada; her knowledge of and respect for the historical past as it merges with the world of today; and her commitment to the preservation of our natural resources and urban environment.

Nancy-Gay Rotstein continues to capture the moment in poetry. In January of 2009, upon the third anniversary of Irving Layton’s death, the poem she wrote as a tribute to him was published in the Globe and Mail and in April (poetry month) was reprinted on their Web site. She is currently working on new poems for future publication.

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Nancy-Gay Rotstein
author of Shattering Glass: A Novel
This Horizon and Beyond: Poems Selected and New

Copyright Nancy-Gay Rotstein