The Daughter's Way investigates negotiations of female subjectivity in twentieth-century Canadian women's elegies with a special emphasis on the father's death as a literary and political watershed. The book examines the work of Dorothy Livesay, P.K. Page, Jay Macpherson, Margaret Atwood, Kristjana Gunnars, Lola Lemire Tostevin, Anne Carson, and Erin Moure as elegiac daughteronomies--literary artifacts of mourning that grow from the poets' investigation into the function and limitations of elegiac convention. Some poets treat the father as a metaphor for socio-political power, while others explore more personal iterations of loss, but all the poets in The Daughter's Way seek to redefine daughterly duty in a contemporary context by challenging elegiac tradition through questions of genre and gender. Beginning with psychoanalytical theories of filiation, inheritance, and mourning as they are complicated by feminist challenges to theories of kinship and citizenship, The Daughter's Way debates the efficacy of the literary "work of mourning" in twentieth-century Canadian poetry. By investigating the way a daughter's filial piety performs and sometimes reconfigures such work, and situating melancholia as a creative force in women's elegies, the book considers how elegies inquire into the rhetoric of mourning as it is complicated by father-daughter kinship.
Tanis MacDonald is an associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. She is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Rue the Day (Turnstone Press, 2008), and the editor of Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt (WLU Press, 2006). Her book The Daughter's Way: Canadian Women's Paternal Elegies was a finalist for the 2012 ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism.