On June 21st, the sun will perch above the Tropic of Cancer and shoot waves of photons into the Arctic Circle for a full 24-hour period. Solstice originates from the Latin words sol - meaning Sun and sistere – meaning stand still. As we near this year’s summer solstice, it seems like the right time for some spiritual illumination.
In BC, ground-penetrating radar was used to shoot high-frequency 10MHz to 2.6GHz radio waves into the soil around Kamloops Indian Residential School to find out how many children’s bodies lay below.
The radar found a mass grave of 215 children. The children’s skeletons horrifically enlighten all citizens of Canada’s monstrous past.
The English word "monster" comes from the Latin monstrum, originally considered a celestial messenger. The Latin word monstrare, means "to display". And the word monere means "to warn.”
Whatever the case, all definitions apply as we perch above the monstrosity of bodies under an illusory place of benevolent education.
For Dennis Saddleman, a Kamloops residential school survivor, his relationship with the monster is revealed in this article:
Dennis also wrote a poem addressing the monster.
I hate you residential school I hate you
You’re a slimy monster
Oozing in the shadows of my past
Go away leave me alone
Click here to read more:
Don't miss our next reading Wednesday, June 16, 2021 @ 7:30pm PDT*
This month's evening of poetry will feature Billeh Nickerson and Poets Corner's Own Scott Ramsay. Register for the event by clicking here or copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcufu-srzIuEtQ5WXEnMY14tTJScfAiqopR.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the meeting. If you have any questions or would like to read at the open mic, send an email to: email@example.com.
Scott Ramsay creates poems and multi-media street art and teaches high school creative writing, film studies and video production. He’s been long-listed or a finalist for Poem of the Year awards from the literary magazines Prism, ARC and Quill and has twice been nominated for the CBC’s Literary Award for Poetry. He was published most recently in Swamp Lantern Books’ leather hand-bound collection, Your Death Full of Flowers, released in Spain. He loves participating in spaces for people to inspire or be inspired.
Billeh Nickerson is a Vancouver-based writer, editor, performer, producer and arts advocate, who was born on Valentine’s Day, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the author of six books, including Duct-Taped Roses, which was recently published with Book*hug Press, and a past Editor of both Event and PRISM International. He has also served as Writer in Residence at Queen’s University in Kingston, the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon, and at the University of the Fraser Valley. He is Co-Chair of the Creative Writing department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC.
Our May Reading
Our May “reading” took poetry to a whole new level. If you were there, you know why I used quotation marks. This was no ordinary poetry reading – it was a mixed-media eco poetry display. Our first five open mic poets continued to dazzle the ear with poems about lover birds, puddles, Malcolm X, zoot suits, and “numerous noxious nasties.” It was so wonderful to share the virtual space with some American poet friends. We even learned that Alabama is the biodiversity capital of the U.S.
After the first open mic group, we were treated to a smorgasbord of traditional reading and poetry films by our first feature poet, Poets Corner’s own Kim Trainor. Her first two poems, “Wildfire” and “Paper Birch” intertwined romance and the landscape, reminding us that humans are indeed part of the evolutionary process, and left us with this question: after the fires burn out and the dry parched land speaks the sparse language of the tundra, where do we go from here? After these two poems, Kim shared her screen to reveal her poetry films, with music from experimental violinist Hazel Fairbairn. The first film, “Tardigrade,” considered the tardigrades shot to the moon on the Beresheet rocket. “The Beautiful Cell”, explored tiny sea cells, glass octopus, moon jelly, whose “nature is not to be itself.” Quite the paradox. The second film, “Elysia”, explored a creature somewhere between plant and animal, that exists in the salt marshes of Texas, the fields of bliss. The images, coupled with Fairbairn’s violin and Trainor’s reading, soothed the listener with music, word and science.
After a short break, we got back into a second round of open mic poets, diving further into deep waters and moss piglets, picking up rich people’s trash in the park, learning about a new way to die, and finding our place among seats filled with similar travellers with similar needs. Our witty host reminded us, after Nefertiti’s amazing reading, that we indeed need to move back when it squirts.
Our second feature poet, Adam Dickinson, took us on a poetic tour of the inside of his body, where the biological and the cultural intersect. Dickinson, after a full scientific examination of his various excretions, including an infamous dump in Buffalo, and an actual up-close look at his urine, read from his latest book, Anatomic. We heard about saran-wrapped expectations, partially asphyxiated orgasms, and “even when it was upon us, claimed the disaster did not exist.” We saw images of cockroaches on Kafka and learned two things: Fiber is food for your microbes and humans ingest a credit-card’s worth of plastics every month.
You had to be there. But if you weren’t, maybe you can check out the video later, when Sara gets it up on our YouTube channel. Honestly, if you missed it, you should definitely check it out. Even if you were there, it’s probably worth another look. I know I will probably watch both the whole thing again, because you rarely get such a mix of poetry, activism and science sewn together so beautifully.
Oh, and if you enjoyed it, or you tune in to watch the re-run, PLEASE DONATE so that we can continue to deliver this amazing poetic art.
We have some amazing readings coming up in the next few months. On Wednesday, July 21, we have Jane Munro and Ian Williams. Mark your calendars -- this will be our last event before our August break and we will be back in September with more poetry!
Our One Minute Poem Series