Sadie McCarney is a Canadian poet who grew up in Nova Scotia. She now lives on Prince Edward Island, where she also writes fiction. Her work has been widely published in a variety of publications including Plenitude, Grain, Prairie Fire, The Malahat Review, The Puritan, Room and The Best of The Best Canadian Poetry in English among other places.

Here is work scratched with wit, and warmth where you least expect it. Blunt, sharp, tough and tender, with shithouse Picassos and supermarket fairytales, McCarney’s poems are led by voice and I am glad to follow.       Lily Blacksell



Listen to Sadie read the sequence Steeltown Songs from the collection.


ISBN 978-1-904551-91-1  £12 plus £2p&p

Published April 2020

(in conjunction with University of Regina Press, Canada)


* we are only able to supply this book in UK/Europe. If you are in Canada/US you can purchase the University of Regina edition.

Live Ones reads like a tomboy with its pockets full of rhinestones, placing them lovingly on the graves of the dead.

This rewarding debut collection grapples with mourning, coming of age, and queer identity against the backdrop of small-town and rural Canada. Sadie McCarney’s poems are intensely honest, photographic in detail yet frequently surreal. They inhabit their own unique space between the humour of the everyday and the sorrows of human emotion. They are in turn playful and serious, lucid yet strange, creating an enthralling read from cover to cover.

Sadie’s website is :

Here is a poem from the collection to enjoy…


We were all there: crows,
prim diaconal priest,
third cousins wound tight
together like cornrows.

Two by two, like school-
kids, we filed past the deceased
tarted up in her box,
a bad kewpie doll

with too much rouge.
She never looked so alive
in life, like she’d cancan dance
if you gave her a nudge.

The second wives and I hived
together like bees, abuzz
with idle laughs and chatter—
politics, who brought which bread.

We were all step-aunts
or step-something-or-others,
ghosts the family kept
like cats to haunt

and haunt the family tree.
In a six-foot furrow
they lowered her down
(cold dirt dry as liturgy)

in silk and blue eyeshadow
(although, alive, she’d shunned
running water). They recalled
her hugs, a stale waft of tobacco.

But we married in. We weren’t
the Hummel figurines or pudgy
granddaughter she loved. We ate
date squares and stared at our feet.

The dead, but once or twice removed.

Sadie McCarney