Lullabies in the Real World (NeWest Press) sets off on a cross-country trip from West to East Coast with the momentum of a train—moving us forward while looking backwards to confront and challenge the colonial histories. Below, we share two poems from the collection.
stumble stoop stutter-clog
musty muse music to unknown woods
I would a stargazer,
would a bison-memory be
fringe of spindles on clear-cut ridge
cross river recross
back slip back sneak unthread Canadia
wiring small glass cones
cockeyed track-side concrete ties
make cents, boy and granddad
play chess, what’s hidden from this pink bunched glimpse of fireweed
song of innocence, song of despair
for tankers, hoppers, containers
feeding ten million mouths
song of claim, song of emptiness
song of illusion, song of madness
wiring usless us along
through unspoken not dis-hidden watching
over the river — wide wide river
over river into night
cornfields and cornfields
and cornfield origin
and deer and flat river delta
centuries eons silted flatted
deer leaping over the leaves of corn
go east, poet,
east to frankincense, myrrh, Sphinx
east to Ostara’s brim-burst her beams up-leap
turn backrunner, backshadow
unpioneer, uninvent, undiscover
back yet forward with earth
into the sun
to backbode backtell
unmap unseers rub out their erasures
* * *
Meredith Quartermain is a poet and novelist living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her first book of poetry,Vancouver Walking (NeWest Press), won a BC Book Award for poetry; Recipes from the Red Planet (Book*hug Press) was a finalist for a BC Book Award for fiction; and
Nightmarker was a finalist for a Vancouver Book Award. A novel, Rupert’s Land, was released by NeWest Press in Fall 2013. She has since published a collection of stories entitled
I, Bartleby (Talonbooks) and a second novel,
U Girl(Talonbooks). She is also cofounder of Nomados Literary Publishers, who have brought out more than 50 chapbooks of innovative Canadian and US writing since 2002. From 2014 to 2016, she was Poetry Mentor in the SFU Writer’s Studio Program, and she has enjoyed leading workshops at the Kootenay School of Writing, The Toronto New School of Writing and Naropa University.
Lullabies in the Real World is a part of the Crow Said Poetry series.
All Lit Up is produced by the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo. LPG and LitDistCo acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.
All views expressed by bloggers and contributors to the All Lit Up blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of All Lit Up or the Literary Press Group.
All Lit Up acknowledges we are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work on this territory.