Book details

Publication date: January 2018
Features: Notes
Series: Robert Kroetsch Series
Keywords: Poetry / Canadian Literature
Subject(s): POETRY / Canadian, Creative Writing, Creative Writing / Poetry, Poetry / Canadian Literature, POETRY / Women Authors, SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects, Poetry / Canadian Literature, Impact of science & technology on society, Poetry, Science, Bestseller
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Alice Major. Alice Major, Edmonton’s first poet laureate, has published 11 books of poetry and essays, many of which explore her long-standing interest in the sciences. She is the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta 2017 Distinguished Artist Award. Her most recent publications with UAP are Standard candles and Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science. You can find her online at

"Because the universe is big and all but incomprehensible, the average Jills and Joes don’t dare ask too many existential questions. It is left to poets to face the truth in those places the rest of us fear to tread. The author of eleven books of poetry and essays, Edmonton’s first poet laureate, and a woman comfortable in the realms of math, science, and cosmology, Alice Major is uniquely qualified to guide humanity through perilous ecological times. Thank you, Alice."

Foreword Magazine

# 1 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, March 11, 2018

# 10 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, March 18, 2018

"Alice Major begins "Welcome to the Anthropocene" by considering all the ways humans have meddled with the environment... The traditional and experimental forms which appear throughout the book reinforce Major's argument...and hint at unseen evolutionary forces at work; rhyming couplets which make up the first poem call to mind the 'base pairs' of DNA, even as they echo Pope's 'An Essay on Man.'... She excels at depicting situations when humans are themselves little more than kind animals, unusually intelligent but never quite intelligent enough, and often confounded by their own place in the ecosphere.

Patrick O'Reilly, Maisonneuve, Winter 2017

“Poets work like naturalists or scientists. What they do is based on what has gone before. Alexander Pope wrote Essay on Man, one of the most quoted poems in the English language, in the 18th century… This collection is written in Alberta, in the 21st century. Its title poem, “Welcome to the Anthropocene”, has the same metre and rhyme scheme, and uses Pope’s poem as a platform for a survey of the world the poet sees.… There are a number of other fine poems, of varying lengths, touching a lot of subjects, with influences that seem to range from Gerard Manley Hopkins to a Peterson Field Guide.… The poems are serious, but the reader can expect to have fun reading them.” [Full review at]

Murray Citron, The Canadian Field-Naturalist, vol. 131, no.4

"There are poems about the workaday world, a poem written in the voice of a mouse, a poem about missing the Muse's house call because the poet—damn hygiene!—was in the shower."

Bruce Whiteman, Canadian Notes & Queries

"Alice Major is that rarest of beings, a poet whose imagination is fired by science and mathematics.... [W]ith her broad range of sympathies and wide-ranging curiosity we have a sense of inclusiveness rare in contemporary poetry (which often prefers to live in a world of its own), and a comprehensive vision not afraid of dealing with public issues.... This is poetry with a brain as well as a heart--it not only makes us feel but also succeeds in making us think." [Full review at]

Roger Caldwell, London Grip, London Grip Poetry Review

"Welcome to the Anthropocene is a virtuosic, challenging book of poetry by Alice Major. This collection is by turns a lament, a dirge and a celebration of being on earth in this human-dominated moment.... It is a compelling book of tightly wrought, deeply skilled verse that contains within it the seeds of hope.... Major's ecologically minded poems demonstrate anew why poetry and art play leading roles in helping us to conceive of better times that are yet to come."

Kit Dobson, Alberta Views

"...Alice Major writes an ambitious work that addresses many of the issues besetting our times...[T]he collection is an intelligent work that presents and argues and wins us over in stunning metaphors and catchy measures reinforced by couplets..." [Full review at]

Gillian Harding-Russell, The Goose

"In Welcome to the Anthropocene, Major is not offering a guide to action so much as a guide to broadening the problem beyond the sometimes pat suggestions of political and environmental activists.... What Major adds here is the duality of the Anthropocene: our despair in the face of it and the fact that whether we avoid, protest, reform, or embrace this new world, we are still in it." [Full review at!]

Hannah Rogers, LA Review of Books

"[A] confrontational yet compassionate collection of 57 poems that cut through the fluff of everyday life.... It takes courage to criticize this human-dominated planet, and compassion to remain accepting of humanity despite our collective faults. In place of answers to the questions that drive Major's poetry, she offers insight—and the insights she uncovers make Welcome to the Anthropocene deeply engaging, and wholly human."

Megan Nega, Freefall Magazine

"...(the book’s title [Welcome to the Anthropocene] is a reference to the current geologic age, the one in which human activity is the dominant influence on the Earth’s physical environment). [Alice Major’s] work, art that reckons with science, is part of a long tradition."

Megan Garber, The Atlantic

"This wide-ranging and beautiful collection combines scientific knowledge of evolution, DNA, and mathematical formulas with a caring attention to the wondrous connections between human and non-human life." Canadian Literature, October 5, 2018 [Full review at]

Kait Pinder

"Each section contains smaller poems on a wide variety of topics––like local ecology, office life, mathematics, community, the domestic sphere, time, cognitive illusions, and more. Though varied in subject, so many of these poems bring us back to the problem of being human; that is, we place ourselves at the centre and see the world around us through a distorted lens."

Jenny Haysom, League of Canadian Poets

"Welcome to the Anthropocene is a real achievement.... [These] poems are intelligent, philosophically and ethically searching, formally engaging, and dappled with precise information and detail..."

Edward A. Dougherty, American Microreviews and Interviews

"Welcome to the Anthropocene is a poet’s take on the climate crisis, which blends math and science with poetry to produce a beautiful and wondrous examination of the natural world and humanity’s devastating impact on it. While such an undertaking could easily be defeatist, Major’s collection retains a sense of hope and genuine love for humanity that makes her poetry a refreshing read in an era plagued by eco-anxiety and negative climate news."

Katherine DeCoste, The Gateway

# 8 on Edmonton's Bestselling Books list; Poetry, December 01, 2019

"Major is a keen observer of the river and natural environment around her hometown of Edmonton and the way it is changing as a result of climate disruption. She has the dual ability to engage us in this particular locale as well as transport us to a universal place where we can examine the bigger questions of our time..." [Full article at]

Susan Hoffman Fishman, Artists and Climate Change

# 8 on Edmonton Poetry Bestsellers list, February 14, 2021

“Welcome to the Anthropocene is airy but tight … Major [is] someone who is unimpressed by the conforming type of self-satisfied nonconformist but who values the truly different, those who take an oblique angle on things.”

Andrew DuBois, University of Toronto Quarterly, Summer 2020

# 7 on Edmonton Poetry Bestsellers list, June 19, 2022

#5 on the Edmonton Poetry Bestsellers list, April 30, 2023

Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, Canada
Raymond Souster Award / League of Canadian Poets, Canada
Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta, Canada
-In medias res

Welcome to the Anthropocene
-Welcome to the Anthropocene
-The local globe
-Windfall advisory
-There goes the neighbourhood
-Guardians of Eden
-Privacy acts
-Bird singularities
-Dust to dust
-Annual grains
-Demeter waits at the arrivals gate
-Red sky at …
-Climate change debate
-Mouse dreams
-Waltz, wasp

A working world
-Office hours
-I heard the bells …
-Staff Christmas lunch
-Free time
-Bell curve
-The Gambler’s Fallacy
-After a morning spent in a visioning session with a well-paid consultant
-Among the Magi

Long division
-Zero divided by zero
-Complex number plane
-Discounted annuals
-Draft of a poem on ‘inclusion’

Discounted annuals
-The hat
-The realms of asphodel
-Kind to a cat
-Child care
-Old Anna
-The things we drag behind us

Laundry hearts
-This afternoon before the clocks turn back
-In memoriam
-Battle River country
-Season of metal
-Laundry hearts
-Within, without
-In every tongue
-Sun thread
-Circadian Arcadias

The poet’s handbook of cognitive illusions
-Hallucinating the muse
-Pathetic fallacy
-The Texas sharpshooter fallacy
-Necker cube illusion
-The League of Poets Burial Society


ISBNs: 9781772123685 978-1-77212-368-5 Title: welcome to the anthropocene ISBNs: 9781772123975 978-1-77212-397-5 Title: welcome to the anthropocene ISBNs: 9781772123968 978-1-77212-396-8 Title: welcome to the anthropocene ISBNs: 9781772123982 978-1-77212-398-2 Title: welcome to the anthropocene