Poetry in Motion: Chelsea Coupal's Reimagining Prairie Poetry in Sedley
May 30, 2018
When we think of Prairie writing – specifically Prairie poetry – we generally think of toil, dust, maybe even bonnets. Not so in Chelsea Coupal's debut collection Sedley(Coteau Books), named after her hometown of Sedley, SK. In her book, Coupal beautifully captures the Prairie vistas and competing urges to leave and stay through both words and photographs, but injects a modern spirit into the genre, waking it up for the 21st century. See Coupal read from two poems in the book, below.
Sedley (Coteau Books) "harvest[s] not only the prairies, but a sense of community and belonging." With the publication of this collection of poems, Coupal, who grew up in the village of Sedley, Saskatchewan, brings a new voice to the genre of Prairie writing. In language that is direct yet nuanced, Coupal takes the reader into the heart of contemporary rural Saskatchewan, through adolescent rites of passage to the question that confronts many young Canadians growing up on a farm in the 21st century: Should I go or should I stay? Accompanied by photographs of the town, shot by Coupal herself, this debut collection of poetry weaves together both the personal and universal, harvesting not only the prairies, but a sense of community and belonging.
Coupal admits "I was obsessed with horses when I was younger, and I still kind of am, but I suppressed it" before reading "A Horse Named Breeze" – a contemplative poem from the perspective of her younger self.
In "The Near-Death Drive", Coupal recounts a youthful adventure that could have turned tragic, but "our own laughter bursts through / like roman candles."
* * *
Chelsea Coupal now lives in Regina, where she completed a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing. She won the 2017 City of Regina Writing Award and was shortlisted for CV2’s 2016 Young Buck Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals across Canada, including Arc, CV2 and Grain.
* * *
Thanks so much to MacKenzie at Coteau Books for sending these videos to us! You can read Sedley yourself – it's available now. For more Poetry in Motion,
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.