Author Tags: Health, Poetry

While working at the Victoria Hospice, Eve Joseph of Brentwood Bay published a series of variations on the Persian literary form of the ghazal, The Startled Heart (Oolichan, 2004). This debut collection marries the spiritual and physical worlds as Joseph explores grief and loss and the process of dying. It was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Prize.

Her second collection The Secret Signature of Things (Brick 2010) evokes and explores the process of attaining epiphanies. It was also nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. In a long poem called 'Tracking' she struggles with the question of how to remember many missing aboriginal women on the West Coast.

In the Slender Margin (HarperCollins $21.99), Joseph's third book, is part memoir, part meditation on death. The early demise of her brother coupled with twenty years of work at a hospice give Joseph 'an insider's point of view'. Using history, pop culture, religion, literature, mythology, poetry and references ranging from Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, and D.H. Lawrence to Voltaire, Joseph writes about the mysterious and at times horrendous aspect of what she has observed of this life stage.

Born in 1953, Eve Joseph grew up in North Vancouver. As a young woman she worked on freighters and travelled widely, then received an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. She has been nominated for many awards, including a National Magazine Award and the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. Her non-fiction has been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards and she received the P.K Page Founder’s Award for Poetry.


The Startled Heart (Oolichan, 2004)
The Secret Signature of Things (Brick 2010) 978-1-894078-81-8 $19
In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Dying (HarperCollins 2014) $21.99 978-1-44342-671-8

[Danielle Schaub photo]

[BCBW 2014] "Poetry"

In the Slender Margin
Publisher's Promo (2014)

Part memoir, part meditation on death itself, In the Slender Margin is an exploration of death from an “insider’s point of view”. Using the threads of her brother’s early demise and her twenty years of work at a hospice, Joseph utilizes history, religion, pop culture, philosophy, literature, personal anecdote, mythology and poetry to discern the unknowable and to illuminate her travels through the land of the dying. This book was written as a way for Joseph to understand what she had seen: the mysterious and the horrendous.

While most books that approach the subject of death do so from a medical or psychological point of view, In the Slender Margin is neither an academic text nor a self-help manual. It is unique in that it is a rumination through art and ideas on the greatest mystery that awaits us all

Replete with literary allusions and references ranging from Joan Didion and Susan Sontag to D.H Lawrence and Voltaire, In the Slender Margin is an absorbing and inspired consideration of how we die and how we deal with death.