A vivid and sensitive poetry-portrait of a pioneering woman photographer and the British Columbia forests she captured on film. Mattie Gunterman (1872-1945) is a fascinating character, capable of walking from Seattle to Beaton, BC, running a full camp-kitchen, caring for her children and taking fascinating portraits of a British Columbia that has all but vanished, both the people and the trees. In thoughtful and elegantly written poems, Catherine Owen traces the life of this remarkable woman, contrasting both modern life and the modern environment with what Mattie would have encountered. Part biography, part environmental elegy, Seeing Lessons leaves readers seeing the world in a different light.
Catherine Owen lives in New Westminster, BC. She is the author of ten collections of poetry, among them, DESIGNATED MOURNER (ECW, 2014), TROBAIRITZ (Anvil Press 2012), SEEING LESSONS (Wolsak & Wynn 2010) and FRENZY (Anvil Press 2009). Her poems are included in several recent anthologies such as FORCEFIELD: 77 WOMEN POETS OF BC (Mothertongue Press, 2013) and THIS PLACE A STRANGER: CANADIAN WOMEN TRAVELLING ALONE (Caitlin Press, 2014). Stories have appeared in URBAN GRAFFITI, MEMWEAR MAGAZINE, LIT N IMAGE (US) and TORONTO QUARTERLY. Her collection of memoirs and essays is called CATALYSTS: CONFRONTATIONS WITH THE MUSE (W & W, 2012). FRENZY won the Alberta Book Prize and other collections have been nominated for the BC Book Prize, ReLit, the CBC Prize, and the George Ryga Award. In 2015, Wolsak & Wynn published her compendium on the practices of writing called THE OTHER 23 AND A HALF HOURS OR EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW THAT YOUR MFA DIDN'T TEACH YOU. She works in TV, plays metal bass and blogs at MARROW REVIEWS.
"Catherine Owen?s book of poetry, Seeing Lessons, demonstrates the power of both optical and linguistic imagery to capture the past and show us the present with new eyes. " - Alternatives Journal
"But although I was forced by my own shortcomings to read the poems at a snail's pace, I can recommend this book to anyone with an interest in poetry of photography or Canadian history or women's studies. " - Bad Tempered Zombie
"She has a beautiful way of putting language together and she has a sense of how to narrate a story. " - The Bull Calf
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