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
May 21, 2018 § Leave a comment
I look everywhere for you, in tins and shoeboxes—
There are so many things I cannot find. I look and look.
A reel to reel with your name on the label gummed
to its centre, and a question mark.
Is it you?
I cut up your voice in C-control. Slip
the tape back and forth across the heads
to isolate a word, a breath
caught in the throat.
Meaning poured out of sound.
Slice it out. Tape it back again.
I can’t recall your face, your voice.
Tape your tongue.
How much I missed of you.
Tape your lips.
4 June. As she emerged from the ice, towards the very end, they used their fingers to work at the fabric on her body, to ease out her left arm without tearing off her skin. Her clasped hands, so. In this way it felt as if she were coming to life beneath their fingertips.
So I work your body in memory.
These barbaric methods.
4 June. They used cupfuls of hot water, to slow the spill of tiny artefacts
5 June. But I resist. I approach you sideways. A little at a time, over years. I write a line and score it out. Write another line. Delete it.
You recorded everything: the dopplering train whistle and the insects that woke at dusk. The man at the gas station who taught us how to say Tehachapi. The wind against the sides of the van where we sheltered at night.
You tell me, listen. You take my head in your hands, adjust my earphones, check the levels. A single insect, then a second, begins to sing. A chorus. Electric. This blue light. One group signalling to another across the land.
A train whistle approaches through the dusk. Enters me.
Two pieces of string
on her little finger —