October 23, 2021 § Leave a comment
First performance of Ledi (Book*hug 2018) as response to Assembly exhibit, New Media Gallery, New Westminster. Here, we are inside the Zimoun tower, a construct of cardboard boxes and cotton balls, drumming. Pt.1, “Wrenched from the cold earth,” was performed inside Zimoun. As Herodotus described the burial practices of the Scythians, we exited the grave/kurgan, circling the tower, and moved onward into the dark of the Tan archival exhibit.
September 13, 2021 § Leave a comment
This is the first of possibly 3 performances of my poetry-film assemblage of Ledi (Book*hug 2018) with fiddle/composer Hazel Fairbairn. Our performance is a response to the Assembly exhibit at the New Media Gallery, New Westminster, featuring Fiona Tan, Zimoun, and Turner-prize-winning artist Elizabeth Bishop: “A collection, a set of instructions, an archive, a regime, a system. This is the Assembly. We recognize the power of an assembly that works, moves and thinks together, with apparent order and regularity. There is a potent force in the impressions and sounds of order; be they utopian or dystopian.
We have an innate desire to control a world in chaos. The will to order is considered one of the essential forces driving human behaviour, leading to such things as laws and institutional systems, rational and scientific thought, educational systems, political and public health orders….war. Art itself can be understood as a desire to order; in the development of systems, rules and organizations. At the same time creative thought can be a powerful force with the ability to break down ordering systems And when the assembly breaks down what follows? Out of the chaos new orders are swiftly born. ” (New Media Gallery). Two more performances possibly to be scheduled on the 22nd and 23rd.
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.
September 9, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Integument,” the first in a series of poetry films I’m making from my book Ledi, has been selected to appear in November at the 2020 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. More details soon…..
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.
January 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
I’ve been meaning to post links of these reviews of my most recent book Ledi here. Thank you to my lovely reviewers Jenna Butler, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, and Jan Conn. xox
Jan Conn, “When ‘The Spring Light is Like Glass: Kim Trainor’s Ledi.”
“The archaeological excavation of a 2000-year-old woman (possibly a storyteller or shaman) in Siberia named Ledi, and an urgent excavation of the death of a former lover by suicide, are the focus of this fascinating and enigmatic book.
I love the way this collection begins with an untitled evocation foregrounding the five sections, charting the ebb and flow of blue dawn light, felt as water, filling the narrator’s body, “I am clear in this tidal light.” But then, the next (and final) stanza is wonderfully ambiguous, beginning with “And then it goes, leaving ligaments and thews strewn/ like dried grasses.“ We sense how transient this clarity may be, physically and emotionally. We can guess that the narrator is simultaneously inhabiting the body of Ledi and her own. Throughout the five sections of this book (I. Wrenched from the cold earth; II. Integument; III. Inventory; IV. Ghost: V. Blue across this land that looks like sea), Trainor uses spare lyrics and the format of a notebook or diary as she skilfully interweaves the dead, burial and excavation details, contrasting environments of the Siberian steppes and Vancouver, and the narrator’s life before, during and after her former lover’s suicide.” –Jan Conn, When “The Spring Light is Like Glass”: Kim Trainor’s Ledi. Arc Poetry Magazine online, 8 January 2020
Jenna Butler, “Archaeology of a Horsewoman.” The Ormsby Review.
“The great strength of Trainor’s work in both Karyotype and Ledi, but perhaps most richly exemplified in the latter, lies in her ability to lay the bones of the past alongside the losses and griefs of the present [,,,] At its core, Ledi is a quietly wise and richly articulate book about the power of loss, grief, ceremony, and love that make us human.” —Jenna Butler, “Archaeology of a Horsewoman,” The Ormsby Review, 22 July 2019.
Elee Kraljii Gardiner, “Seeking Peace: An Omnibus Review of Poetry by Wanda John-Kehewin, Arielle Twist and Kim Trainor”
“This is what grief feels like, isn’t it? The repetition, the daily visits with damage, the uselessness of the task. Trainor recreates the endless small efforts to make sense of something ineffable and unavoidable in its mystery. In the end, it is only the slow work of the wild grasses and flowers that persists where any body could, did, or might have lain.” —Elee Kraljii Gardiner, “Seeking Peace: An Omnibus Review of Poetry by Wanda John-Kehewin, Arielle Twist, and Kim Trainor.” Prism international. 30 July 2019.
April 2, 2019 § 2 Comments
November 5, 2018 § Leave a comment
October 11, 2018 Comments Off on The Excavation of Memory (Book*hug Blog, 10 October 2018)
An interview by Mary Ann Matias on the Book*hug blog this week: The Excavation of Memory: In Conversation with Kim Trainor