Human Misunderstanding

By Kathy Mac  

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Human Misunderstanding is the latest work by award-winning poet Kathy Mac. The first of the book’s three long poems compares a fictional child soldier (a hero) with a real child soldier (a victim). The second juxtaposes eighteenth century philosophy with one person’s search for another in downtown Halifax. The final poem explores two court cases in which an immigrant faces deportation, and torture, if found guilty of assault in a Canadian court.

Kathy Mac sees inside language-as-propaganda, identifying all the twists and turns that facts suffer as they become half-truths or false justifications for evils, She knows and shows that the rhetoric of the War on Terror enacts a War on Truth. Accept no substitutes for her truth-telling, which is liberating.

— George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate

With Human Misunderstanding, Kathy Mac achieves a seemingly impossible task. She brings levity and lyricism to serious tragedies, ranging from the detention and torture of Omar Khadr in Guantánamo Bay, to the disintegration of a relationship, to two prosecutions for sexual assault. Human misery is made more redeemable by Mac’s thoughtful exploration. Readers should be forewarned that living with greater clarity and care are possible outcomes of reading this delicate collection.

— Josephine L. Savarese, St. Thomas University

Kathy Mac has what philosopher David Hume has called an “accurate knowledge of the internal fabric.” We misread, hurt, and destroy one another at every turn. Her spare, sharp poetic pierces the heart of what matters, what it might mean if we were both human and humane.

— Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Roseway Publishing
  • Poetry
  • ISBN: 9781552669587
  • February 2017
  • 88 Pages
  • $16.00
  • For sale worldwide

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  • ”. Much of what passes as “innovative” these days is material patchworked from the writings of others as if these reconstructive or deconstructive efforts exhibited perceptiveness. Mac, however, constructs her forms, and thus her perceptions are truly innovative.” - M. Travis Lane

    — M. Travis Lane (full review)


  • Omar Khadr Is Not Harry Potter
  • Enquiries Concerning Human Misunderstanding: Theory, Speculation, Practice
  • A Case, E Case


  • Kathy Mac

    Saint Thomas University

    Kathy Mac has published two books of poems: The Hundefräulein Papers (2009) about the years she spent as the dogsitter of Elisabeth Mann Borgese, and Nail Builders Plan for Strength and Growth (2002) which won the Gerald Lampert Award and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. As Kathleen McConnell, she’s also published the analytico-poetic book of essays Pain, Porn and Complicity: Women Heroes from Pygmalion to Twilight (2012). Despite a typically wander-filled early-writer’s life, she’s mostly settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, where she teaches creative writing and literature at St. Thomas University.

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