Poets Resist: Deirdre Dwyer
The small farming community of Blomidon on Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy is the setting and heart of Deirdre Dwyer's The Blomidon Logs (ECW Press). The poems in the collection refer to the legends of the First Nations chief who once settled there, and celebrate those who make a living off the land. Below we share an interview with Deirdre, along with "The Years Mapped Out," a poem from her book that in her words is about "my father and with a reference to the destruction of the hardwood forests."See more details below
This year we feel everyone could see a little more solidarity and community, so we're getting poetically political with Poets Resist, a series dedicated to poetry as a form of resistance. Every day on the blog we will feature a poet whose work explores one of these topics: colonialism and violence, homophobia and transphobia, environmental destruction, and/or the !@#$% patriarchy.
The small farming community of Blomidon on Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy is the setting and heart of Deirdre Dwyer's The Blomidon Logs (ECW Press). The poems in the collection refer to the legends of the First Nations chief who once settled there, and celebrate those who make a living off the land. Below we share an interview with Deirdre, along with "The Years Mapped Out," a poem from her book that in her words is about "my father and with a reference to the destruction of the hardwood forests."
ALU: What are some books that inspired or informed The Blomidon Logs?
DD: There are a number of books that inspired and informed The Blomidon Logs. One is Blomidon Rose by Esther Clarke Wright, and my poem about that book explains its influence. I also allude to Glooscap and Kay Hill’s books, Glooscap and His Magic and More Glooscap Stories: Legends of the Wabanaki. My parents read these books to my brothers and sisters and me when we were young. And the unpublished logbooks that my parents wrote in are and were the greatest influence on my book. I am so pleased to have the six logbooks that my family kept. They are a wonderful archives of a special place and time.
ALU: If you were protesting environmental destruction, what would your protest sign read?
DD: Let Mother Nature mother!
ALU: Why did you write this collection?
DD: I wrote The Blomidon Logs because I wanted to pay tribute to a special place and time, to the lifestyle we enjoyed there, and the people there. I feel blessed that my family had the old cabin and then later built a new A-frame cottage up the road. I have so many great memories of Blomidon and time there with friends, family, and neighbours. Friends that we brought to Blomidon fell in love with the place as I love the place too!
ALU: What does poetry as resistance mean to you?
DD: I think artists, writers, and poets have the responsibility to voice their concerns about events that are happening in the world. Poetry can and should be political because the personal is political. As a feminist, as one concerned about the environment and political upheaval and injustices, I wrote protest poems and feminist poetry and poems that speak to concerns about equality, environmental destruction, justice, and freedom. I think about Carolyn Forche’s poem, “The Colonel,” about violence and torture in El Salvador. I think of Denise Levertov writing essays about political poetry. Artists, poets, and all writers need to articulate their concerns and share them, and to speak out.
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Deirdre Dwyer is the author of two collections, The Breath That Lightens the Body and Going to the Eyestone (Wolsak & Wynn). She has worked as an ESL instructor in Japan; travelled in Asia, Europe, and in an old Volkswagen van across Canada and the U.S.; taught at universities in Halifax; and helped found a farmers’ market in her hometown. She lives in Musquodoboit Harbour, on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore, with her golden retriever, Molly.
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Remember, buying The Blomidon Logs or any of our other featured poetry month collections gets you a Poets Resist pack of a patch and buttons to wear to your next protest. And if you need some more resistance poetry inspiration, check out our poetry bot!
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