Paperback / softback
May 17, 2022
5 b&w illus., 11 halftones
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.40 Inches (US)
.7 Pounds (US)
$24.99 USD, £19.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Blue Portugal and Other Essays

Using the richness of braided essays, Theresa Kishkan thinks deeply about the natural world, mourns and celebrates the aging body, gently contests recorded history, and considers art and visual phenomena. Gathering personal genealogies, medical histories, and early land surveys together with insights from music, colour theory, horticulture, and textile production, Kishkan weaves a pattern of richly textured threads, welcoming readers to share her intellectual and emotional preoccupations. With an intimate awareness of place and time, a deep sensitivity to family, and a poetic delight in travel, local food and wine, and dogs, Blue Portugal and Other Essays offers up a sense of wonder at the interconnectedness of all things.

About the Author

Theresa Kishkan lives on the Sechelt Peninsula in British Columbia. She has published more than a dozen books, including poetry, fiction, and collections of essays.


"...Kishkan's writing is lyrical and free-ranging, a true pleasure to read.... In Blue Portugal the essays' themes are allowed to slip their boundaries; a topic addressed in one essay recurs in later essays, a recognition, perhaps, that thoughts and interests develop over time, shifting slightly as they are put in the company of other thoughts, are seen from different perspectives. The essays in Blue Portugal seem to talk to each other; they interlace in interesting and thought-provoking ways. The book is a fine example of the personal essay at its best." Michael Hayward, The British Columbia Review, August 2, 2022 [Full review at]

"Kishkan is a prolific, perceptive and gifted writer. Never forgetting her poetic roots, her mind works metaphorically—linking disparate but connectable things in revealing ways. Blue Portugal and Other Essays is a book to be savoured" Gene Walz, Winnipeg Free Press, August 13, 2022

"Rivers meander but with purpose. So too do the ten loosely connected pieces that make up Theresa Kishkan's Blue Portugal and Other Essays. These elegantly braided essays reveal a lifetime of curiosity and contemplation in ways that invite the reader to come along. Blue Portugal and Other Essays is part of the University of Alberta Press's literary travel series, Wayfarer—and a poetic journey very much worth booking." Literary Review of Canada, September 2022

"Much pleasure awaits the reader of Blue Portugal, Theresa Kishkan's collection of ten essays that sing individually and re-engage with each other throughout the volume. It is not simply a matter of rebounding colours among 'The Blue Etymologies,' 'Blue Portugal,' and 'Blueprints,' nor the recurrence of journeys dark and light; rather, Kishkan's poetic phrasing and rhythms thread these braided essays with originality of perception, reflection, and a lyric sensibility." Michael Greenstein, Miramichi Reader, September 3, 2022 [Full review at]


"Kishkan's lyrical essays glow with the generosity and poetic grace of a richly perceptive mind. Blue Portugal and Other Essays explores natural and human histories, the veins and rivers of then and now, with fierce and tender insight. An overnight train, a weathered rock, a button, a blueprint, the complications of the human heart—all rendered in beautiful prose." Lorri Neilsen Glenn, author of Following the River: Traces of Red River Women

"Phantom places resonant with mysterious meaning, dreamy hauntings from half-remembered lives, revenant landscapes fragmented in the prism of memory; the living, the dead; rivers as the veins of life and veins as the rivers of being; migrations through time, geography, and experience; a husband and wife reading Dante's Inferno to each another by firelight and the machinery of medical technology delivering readings from Cancerland—this is just a marvellous book. Theresa Kishkan is amazing." Stephen Hume, author of A Walk with the Rainy Sisters

"Blue Portugal and Other Essays is forget-me-not powerful, small sparking essays building and building to cacophonies of bright brilliance. Be prepared to be cracked (Crack. CRACK) wide open—raw, vulnerable and moved: you'll then be carefully knitted and quilted back into a transformed whole. Such is the skill of Kishkan's literary craft: she narrates entire, and stunningly well-researched, universes. From the intimately domestic and inner to the bountiful global and beyond, Kishkan takes you by the hand and the heart. She walks with you through her worded worlds and gently restores you back into a revisioned life, days and places you'll never see quite the same way ever again. Gently profound. Richly delicate. Therapeutic and needed." Sarah de Leeuw, author of Where It Hurts

9781772125993 : blue-portugal-and-other-essays-kishkan
Paperback / softback
208 Pages
$24.99 USD

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