Susan Andrews Grace


Susan Andrews Grace has published five books of poetry. The most recent, Philosopher at the Skin Edge of Being (Signature Editions, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2014 Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She was founding faculty of Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC where she teaches creative writing. Susan maintains a visual art practice and has exhibited works in Canada and the United States.

Synesius, One-Man Clarification Band


:: a man of action who wanted to be a writer but was instead

a reluctant bishop, defender of the weak and helpless, a funny man

who wrote brilliantly about his baldness

and ill-fated journeys by sea, as well as

unrequited letters to Hypatia, his teacher.


:: rich man, old money, his wealth from traffic of the herb silphium,

genus Ferula, tonic and oral contraceptive—

we don’t have to wonder why silphium quickly

became an extinct species.


:: lived in a paradise of heart-shaped seedpods,

giant fennel on coins of his realm.

:: The heart’s curve in Hypatia’s mathematical language


(x2 + y2 – 1)3 – x2y3 = 0

:: Our Valentine cards came from his contraceptive,

economic stronghold of Cyrene.


:: The Cyrenaica, his family’s luscious tableland since antiquity,

one thousand eight hundred feet above the sea,

rich in olives and grapes,

chlorophyll-blue Mediterranean below.


:: Hypatia’s most famous student because his letters to her survive,

sets history’s precedent regarding Hypatia.


  • A new poem from Susan Andrews Grace (book length manuscript, Hypatia’s Wake.)


For correct line breaks, please click here: Synesius, One Man Clarificaiton Band