March 4, 2021 § Leave a comment
My review of Francine Cunningham’s on/me (Caitlin Press, 2020) is out now at Prism Online: “There is something charming and frank about this accessible approach, a little reminiscent of Sei Shonagon’s Notes from the Pillow, an eclectic collection of lists and anecdotes like a fragmented diary. And on/me does read very much like a young writer’s diary, preoccupied, as many first poetry collections are, with an exploration of identity (“Cree,” “Metis,” “white passing,” “PTSD,” “bipolar ii disorder”) entwined with memories of childhood and family anecdote. As you come to read through the collection, the title does indeed come into focus, the book a first edition of a manual or guidebook to Francine Cunningham. … a substantial number of poems, both light and heavy, show Cunningham at her best work, writing towards an understanding of who she is, within a complex history of mental illness, rape and PTSD, and the legacy of colonialism….”
February 11, 2021 § Leave a comment
December 1, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Ghost,” a poetry filmed based on a section of my book Ledi, (Book*hug, 2018) has been selected to feature in 9th International Video Poetry Festival, sponsored by +the Institute [for Experimental Arts] in Athens, Greece, and will be screened early in 2021.
Ghost is the second in a series of short poetry films on the excavation of an Iron Age horsewoman’s grave in the steppes of Siberia, her story interwoven with the narrator’s memory of a former lover’s death by suicide. Excerpted from the long poem Ledi (Book*hug, 2018) by Kim Trainor, with original music by Hazel Fairbairn. The first instalment, Integument, screened in November 2020 as part of the Canada/Quebec spotlight at the 20th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.
Ledi, the second book by Vancouver poet Kim Trainor, describes the excavation of an Iron Age Pazyryk woman from her ice-bound grave in the steppes of Siberia. Along with the woman’s carefully preserved body, with its blue tattoos of leopards and griffins, grave goods were also discovered–rosehips and wild garlic, translucent vessels carved from horn, snow-white felt stockings and coriander seeds for burning at death. The archaeologist who discovered her, Natalya Polosmak, called her ‘Ledi’–‘the Lady’–and it was speculated that she may have held a ceremonial position such as story teller or shaman within her tribe. Trainor uses this burial site to undertake the emotional excavation of the death of a former lover by suicide. This book-length poem presents a compelling story in the form of an archaeologist’s notebook, a collage of journal entries, spare lyric poems, inventories, and images. As the poem relates the discovery of Ledi’s gravesite, the narrator attempts simultaneously to reconstruct her own past relationship and the body of her lover.
November 21, 2020 § Leave a comment
Was it two years ago I met Liz Toohey-Wiese at a Summer Solstice party on Westham Island? That night I read a poem called “Paper Birch,” while an image of a smoky pink sun was projected on a sheet strung across the houseboat as a make-shift lantern show. Later, we began to talk and realized we were both working on climate change and wildfires in our creative work: Liz, painting wildfires around BC, and me writing poems about the wildfires. She showed me a book that had come out, the latest volume of Dark Mountain, which featured work on wildfire, and the idea for her was sparked that evening.
She and her co-editor, Amory Abbott, decided to create a book of art and writings on the subject, and put out a call for submissions. The book, Fire Season, was published last month. It features two of my poems, “Little Mountain” and “Wild Fire.” I feel honoured to be included in this anthology, alongside the beautiful images of Katie Ione Crane, photographs of the “scorched boreal forest along Alaska-Yukon borderlands.”
October 18, 2020 § Leave a comment
I participated in an editorial discussion via Zoom with some fellow writers on the subject of wildfires and buried seeds this August. The transcript of our talk has just appeared in Dark Matter: Women Witnessing, along with a poem—“Shelter”—from my sequence ‘Seeds.’ Live now in this month’s October 2020 edition: “EDITORIAL: Buried Seeds in Burning Times”
“From our Call for Submissions: We are living a moment in which planetary concerns converge acutely with the concerns of this journal. It’s a moment that feels dark to many of us and is uncertain for all of us, that has exposed much that was buried before, a moment in which we can no longer deny that we live in bodies and that the health of our bodies cannot be separated from the health of our social and eco-systems. Dark Matter: Women Witnessing was made for this moment of knowing and unknowing.”
August 1, 2020 § Leave a comment
Two poems of mine have just appeared in Otoliths, Issue 58, Southern Winter 2020 edition. My thanks to Mark Young for publishing another seed, “Tardigrade,” from a sequence on resilience and ecological destruction, as well as the long version of “Black Mud.” I cut down a much shorter version of this poem to serve as words for an Art Song, with music composed by Yi-Ning Lo, for Art Song Lab 2020. Its performance can be screened here.
July 2, 2020 § Leave a comment
My review of Sonnet L’Abbé’s Sonnet’s Shakespeare is online at arcpoetry.ca:
In Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609), the object of desire, whether “fair youth” or “dark lady”—diseased, venereal, degrading—is erased by the poet’s own practice of representation. In Sonnet’s Shakespeare (2019), Sonnet L’Abbé uses a reverse erasure method on her namesake, cannibalizing each sonnet, absorbing them within her own prose poems that flicker with aural ghosts of the originals, retaining words in the same order within her overwriting of them. Similarly, each original sonnet’s syntax, argument, theme, iambic rhythm, pattern of imagery is reworked, worked over, metabolized, raged against, ravaged…….
Poems to Hold Worlds: A Review of annie ross, Pots and Other Living Beings and M. Travis Lane, A Tent, A Lantern, An Empty Bowl
June 18, 2020 § Leave a comment
My review of M. Travis Lane and annie ross is out now on Prism International online: Poems to Hold Worlds: A Review of annie ross, Pots and Other Living Beings and M. Travis Lane, A Tent, A Lantern, An Empty Bowl
June 4, 2020 § Leave a comment
I’ll be reading from Ledi next week, Thursday 11th June, from 6 to 7:30pm EST, with Jason Camlot and Avleen K. Mokha for McGill University’s POETRY MATTERS. Part of my reading will include the first instalment of a poetry film of Ledi, “Integument,” with original music by Hazel Fairbairn.
To register for this event, please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/poetrymatters/registration.
May 11, 2020 § Leave a comment
I saw Kanahus Manuel speak at a 350.org/Green New Deal symposium in Vancouver last year, and she described some of the work the Tiny House Warriors have done to confront the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure on their traditional and unneeded territory. This is also described on their website: “The Tiny House Warriors: Our Land is Home is a part of a mission to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline from crossing unceded Secwepemc Territory. Ten tiny houses will be built and placed strategically along the 518 km Trans Mountain pipeline route to assert Secwepemc Law and jurisdiction and block access to this pipeline.”
For some background on this protest, you can screen the film Tiny House Under Attack on Vimeo. And here’s some news coverage from ATPN on the arrest of Kanahus Manuel during a pipeline protest.
The StopTMX Legal Defence Fund is trying to raise $10,000 for the Tiny House Warriors’ legal feels. Donations can be made at https://stopkmlegalfund.org/donate .
Donations can also be mailed to:
StopKM Legal Fund,
PO Box 78035,
Grandview Post Office,