City of Vancouver Book Award winner
As raw and fiery as its author, How Poetry Saved My Life is a powerful account of survival and the transformative power of literature.
Amber Dawn’s acclaimed first novel Sub Rosa, a darkly intoxicating fantasy about a group of magical prostitutes who band together to fend off bad johns in a fantastical underworld, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2011. While the plot of the book was wildly imaginative, it was also based on the author’s own experience as a sex worker in the 1990s and early 2000s, and on her coming out as lesbian.
How Poetry Saved My Life, Amber Dawn’s sophomore book, reveals an even more poignant and personal landscape–the terrain of sex work, queer identity, and survivor pride. This memoir, told in prose and poetry, offers a frank, multifaceted portrait of the author’s experiences hustling the streets of Vancouver, and the how those years took away her self-esteem and nearly destroyed her; at the crux of this autobiographical narrative is the tender celebration of poetry and literature, that–as the title suggests–acted as a lifeline during her most pivotal moments.
Amber Dawn is the author of Sub Rosa, editor of Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009), and co-editor of With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2005). She won the Writers’ Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilivie Prize for emerging LGBT writers in 2012. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.