Dark Matter: Women Witnessing

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.”

#wildfire#seed#serotiny#burning 🔥

“Black Mud” + “Tardigrade”

August 1, 2020 § Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 1.25.46 PMTwo 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.



Sonnet Fever

July 2, 2020 § Leave a comment


Screen Shot 2020-07-02 at 2.12.05 PM 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

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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

Tact, Distance, Excavation: An Evening with Jason Camlot, Avleen K. Mokha, and Kim Trainor

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.

Tiny House Warriors–Legal Defence Fund

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.”

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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,
Vancouver, BC,
V5N 5W1.



ᚁ, k’i, betula

April 29, 2020 § Leave a comment

My poem “ᚁ, k’i, betula” has just appeared in Otoliths magazine, Southern Autumn 2020 (Issue 57, 1 May 2020). It’s part of a long sequence I’ve been working on called “Seeds.”  My thanks to editor Mark Young for accepting it and setting the complicated text.

ᚁ, beith, birch, first letter of ogam ᚛ᚑᚌᚐᚋ᚜ the tree language.

Is there something it is like to be a birch tree, in the conversion of sunlight to green shadows and tree flesh? …


Poetry & Resilience: Lung, Muscle, Archive, Beautiful Cell

April 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

Photo credit: NIAID – https://www.flickr.com/photos/niaid/49534865371/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87484997

I’m writing this in a small, stitched notebook made in Japan, with the words LIFE / PISTACHIO stamped across the front: the colour of dried blood on pistachio green. It’s March 16, 2020. An RVA virus called SARS-CoV-2 has slipped from bat to pangolin, a smudge of blood to human hand to lip to lung, lungs. Breathe. Breathe…..

My post in the ecopoetics series, guest-edited by Jesse Holth, can be found here at The Puritan‘s blog, The Town Crier.

Two days in spring

March 30, 2020 § 2 Comments

by Kim Trainor

i. Sunday 12 February 2012

The nun Tenzin Choedon, at a crossroads near the Mamae Convent, in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, sets herself on fire—this girl of eighteen—and dies.

I scroll down the blue film of words this afternoon, then pull on boots, a raincoat, and head outside to dig through black clumped earth and the fleshed roots of day lilies.

Now she is salt, water, bone. A line of charred letters. Rain falling on the trees’ blackened skin.

It falls so quietly, fingers the guttering eaves, stains the concrete path and the metal blade as it cuts through chestnut leaves which seep a dark fluid. Falls, soft, into the opened earth.

Now I bury the roots of this small apple tree—a stick and a bare root—scrape back the dirt and tamp it down, tie the espaliered arms to the wall.

It seems impossible that it will grow. And as the rain comes harder, I stand stripped and rooted, can only wait—how long—for the bud to swell and tear the bark, stiff blades of crocus to cut through earth, the quince to blood-redden.

The sudden flowering.

(In Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, the soldiers who took her away
will not release the body for last rites.)

I put away the tools and pull the shed door closed. The light to the west is indigo, dried ink, rust.

Shadows deepen. New earth a black stain in this early spring.


ii. Monday 12 March 2012

Bloody dock has survived the winter, rosemary, green sorrel.

The earth labours in the dark.

In Syria, Homs has been under siege a year now.

News comes of a massacre of women and children and some men—beaten, mutilated, throats slit.

News comes like water, a rumour, trickles through cracks and underground channels, then a torrent.

Here is a child. Here is another. Another. Look away, look away.

Their suffering does not end.

In Book One of the Georgics, Virgil tells us how to occupy the long winter months with small tasks, waiting for the spring. How to read the signs:

A crimson shadow darkens the sun.

Wells seep blood.

Pale ghosts come walking through the fields at dusk.

(Think of the farmer who will plough his land a hundred years from now, harvest weapon and bone, how seed will take root, grow through socket and blue-black soil, towards the cold light.)

Sometimes the small tasks of custom and routine are not enough.

War creeps over the surface of the earth.

Montreal International Poetry Prize longest, 2012



Tell How It Really Happened: A review of Crow Gulch by Douglas Walbourne-Gough

January 24, 2020 § Leave a comment

Image result for crow gulchIn a CBC interview  about his debut collection Crow Gulch, Douglas Walbourne-Gough observes, “I would really hope one of the things that the book speaks, back to me and everyone who reads it, is to offer a counter-narrative to stigma.”

Walbourne-Gough addresses the stigmas of class and Mi’kmaq status in Newfoundland, through the lens of Crow Gulch, a former community on the outskirts of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. The community was located on the site of an old slate quarry and comprised mainly families of Mi’kmaq ancestry. Many of these families were relocated from Crow Gulch in the late 70s to the social housing project of Dunfield Park, known as “the Bean” because it was painted in bright paints that were the colour of jelly beans. The colours were meant to be cheerful, but instead served as further stigma for working class/Mi’kmaq inhabitants…

–see the full review here: review of Crow Gulch, Prismmagazine.ca


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