The Last Show on Earth


By Yvonne Blomer

Categories: Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773860770, 148 pages, February 2022

In this unflinching and whimsical collection, Victoria’s former poet laureate Yvonne Blomer explores death, disability and the fate of our imperilled world.


In The Last Show on Earth, Yvonne Blomer gathers the diverse characters and distinct moments from everyday life, its tragedies, and triumphs, and begins to imagine them in a circus as side shows and exhibitions of the unusual. In her latest collection, Blomer borrows from museum dioramas, the paintings of Robert Bateman, and the animal portraits in National Geographic to question and explore the human element in the lives and survival of other species. In poems that are at times unflinchingly dark yet playful, Blomer balances on a tightrope of grief and hope as she traces the lines from motherhood and caring for aging parents to caring for our planet and its endangered creatures—the whale, the elephant, the wolf, the polar bear—as they face ongoing environmental destruction. The Last Show on Earth imagines us all as performers under the bright striped tent or packed on the circus train heading toward an unknown destination.


“Yvonne Blomer’s is a consummately tactile and embodied lyric, one in constant contact with the skin of children, the soil of the garden, the surfaces of water. Through loss and longing, these poems offer care for family and fellow creatures, moving through the insatiableness of life, of things run away from homeostasis, in recoil, spiral, tottering states of beauty for which there is no ‘normal,’ only love of all our errancies, all our failures. This book is a prayer offered against this being the last show on earth—a prayer for another show, for the gorgeous show of this earth to go on.”

—Stephen Collis, author of A History of the Theories of Rain

“Rilke famously suggested that we’re here to say ‘house, bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window—.’ Yvonne Blomer’s list is more organic: limpet, moose, willow, tortoise, mother, son, swan. The Last Show on Earth teems not only with names, but with beings: our desires and pains, the sounds of our breathing. In the midst of great destruction, Blomer’s poems remind us how vibrant our vulnerable world still is.”

—Rob Taylor, author of Strangers and The News

"Read against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the poems in Yvonne Blomer's latest collection, The Last Show on Earth, tap into the intimate nature of grief at the same time they speak to the collective nature of sorrow. The most ordinary of images—a boy standing in a field beneath a luminous moon—evokes a sudden inexplicable ache that resonates long after one has put the book down."

—Eve Joseph, award-winning author of Quarrels and In the Slender Margin