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We Are All Just Animals & Plants

Alex Manley

72 pages
Cover art: Charlotte Picotte
ISBN 9781988355016
Fall 2016

There are names for all sorts of things,
So why shouldn't there be names for

the gradient before the camera focuses,
the way it’s always pink or grey;

for all the futures we invent,
which will one day be pasts that never happened

Predator and prey, host and parasite; symbiosis, evolution, competition. Nature is a complex web of relationships and dualities. In his debut poetry collection, We Are All Just Animals & Plants, Alex Manley maps the “red in tooth and claw” of the natural world onto contemporary relationships, exposing the brutality of longing and the highs and lows of love in the digital age.


“These poems make me feel safe.”
Sarah Jean Alexander, author of Loud Idiots (Second Books, 2016)

“This is a book about bodies and the ways they come together. Manley has built a taxonomy of a world that’s unlike any you’ll find in a biology textbook, but somehow exactly like the one you know.”
Emma Healey, author of Best Young Woman Job Book: A Memoir (Random House Canada, 2022)

“These poems are tense, quick, agile leaps between desire and despair. They remind us that what we want is fleeting and that to want means being willing to be marked by love.”
Emily Kendal Frey, author of Sorrow Arrow


Open Book – “[Manley] has an abiding love of language, of puns, of small moments that encapsulate some greater truth about the world. You can see his in his poetry, where his lines turn on a dime from serious emotional engagement to flourishes of technicolour wordplay and back again.”

Poets.org (Audio)

Vallum – “The collection leaves the reader with a pervasive sense of calm, a dismantling of the metamorphic jungle of dating, and a clearing, a blank page, for Manley’s next book to germinate.”

Debutantes “(T)hese poems call attention to the thin membrane of perception between world and self, the itch of awareness that contorts itself into style.”

Inside the Frozen Mammoth [Podcast]

The Cascade – “Alex Manley has a knack for describing weird little details of this era in a way that makes you feel smarter for having thought something similar.”


The Town Crier – An Interview with Alex Manley

rob mcclennan – 12 or 20 Questions with Alex Manley

Alex Manley

A graduate of Concordia University’s creative writing program, Alex Manley is a Montreal-based editor, translator, and award-winning writer whose work has been published by AskMen, Hazlitt, The Walrus, Vulture, Catapult, Electric Literature, Maisonneuve magazine, THIS magazine, and the Literary Review of Canada, among others. They are the author of We Are All Just Animals & Plants (Metatron Press, 2016), Made-Up: A True Story of Beauty Culture Under Late Capitalism (Coach House Books, 2021)—an English-language translation of Daphné B.’s Maquillée (Marchand de feuilles, 2020), and The New Masculinity (ECW Press, 2023).