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Playing Into Silence

Tina Biello

Growing up during the 50s and 60s in small town Alberta, Pam was keenly aware, by the age of nine, that she was a lesbian. And she also knew well to hide this about herself. Pam would search for books on the “The Island of Lesbos”, only to return from the library with a copy of Little Women. In between the vast spaces of dust and dugouts, she grows up and grows old, playing her saxophone in deep, blaring notes. Age is a constant marker throughout these poems for an otherwise long and lonely time of waiting for queer rights, for acceptance, for love.

Poet Tina Biello unearths just about everything from beneath the Alberta ground: dinosaur bones, a family’s firstborn, missing cows. A voice from within the Prairies, Playing Into Silence is a look back at a dry time in lesbian identity.

“It isn’t often that poetry keeps me reading to find out what happens next but that was the case with Playing into Silence, Tina Biello’s third, full-length collection of poetry. […] The conversational aspect and first person voice of many of the poems will make those readers who are fearful of or resistant to poetry into fans…”
—Mary Ann Moore, Story Circle Book Reviews