poems by

Michelle McLean

With the poems collected in Tesserae, Michelle McLean brings together the thread of a story that starts in pieces and then through courage and persistence puts the fragments of experience into a mosaic of strength and beauty.

The art of creating mosaics starts with collecting tesserae—small tiles, polished stones, or sea glass. Creating a mosaic from the selection of words, phrases, and images is, likewise, meticulous work.

This book is an act of bravery. The author’s skill as a poet creates a narrative that moves from shattering trauma to broad compassion, from the dark path of hard coping to an opening field of light and the solid joy of recovery.

The author’s poetic voice is so sharply honed and unflinching that Tesserae stands not simply as a collection of poems but as a fully realized story— as a distinct and memorable book.

“Anyone who has lived with lifelong grief knows the storms, fissures, and caverns it can erupt in our lives, some of which promise to wash us away before we can climb out of them. Michelle McLean knows this feeling of drowning on dry land all too well and has created a beautifully wrought collection of poems that have both tormented her and brought her a form of catharsis. By sharing these remarkable and also ordinary moments around her sister’s untimely death and the aftermath, we get to hold space with her as she struggles for purchase and are relieved to find her exhausted but alive on the other side. It’s never easy being the one who lived.”

— Jenn Carson

About the Author

Michelle McLean is a grateful mother, clinical social worker and addictions counsellor, educator, animal and nature-lover, dreamer, and seeker of treasure in all forms. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications, including Quills, elm & ampersand, Ascent Aspirations, Peacock Journal, Understorey, Other Voices, Sulfur, and JONAH. Her collection of children’s poetry, When Pigs Fly and Other Poems, was published in 2020 by Chapel Street Editions. Her eldest daughter, Sophie Arseneau, is the illustrator and her youngest daughter, Lily Arseneau, is a contributing illustrator. Michelle and her family live in Carlow, New Brunswick.

Paperback • 120 pages • $25(CAD), $20(USD) • ISBN 978-1-988299-54-9 • Published 2024/04/30