An elegy to and celebration of British Columbia's second-longest river, one at the centre of contemporary conversations about resource extraction and northern geographies, SKEENA is an assemblage of voices, stories and histories both about the river and from the river's perspective. As a single poetic narrative spanning more than eighty pages, this second collection of poetry by award-winning poet Sarah de Leeuw follows a Canadian tradition of long poems, weaving together poetic renderingof the river's perceptions with archival material that includes highway signs and historical newspapers, scientific reports and local lore, geological surveys and topographic maps. Mirroring a river's complex tributary structure and rendered in highly concentrated imagistic language and experimental description, SKEENA is a poly-vocal watershed of poetry, a book that unflinchingly demands humans understand the power of a river, the life and world of the Skeena River.
Sarah de Leeuw holds a Ph.D. in historical-cultural geography and is currently an Associate Professor with the Northern Medical Program at UNBC, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, where she works in medical humanities and the determinants of marginalized peoples' health.
De Leeuw grew up on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii (The Queen Charlotte Islands), the lived in Terrace, BC. She earned a BFA from the University of Victoria, after which she spent time teaching English in South Korea. She also worked as a tug boat driver, women's centre coordinator, logging camp cook, and a journalist and correspondent for Connections Magazine and CBC Radio's BC Almanac. She returned to Northern BC after spending four years in Ontario and another year in Arizona as a visiting Fulbright Scholar with the University of Arizona.
Her first book, Unmarked, was published in 2004. Her second, Geographies of a Lover, arrived in Spring 2012 and won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for the best book of poetry in British Columbia that year, and was followed by Skeena, which was published in 2015. For two consecutive years, Sarah de Leeuw was honoured in the Creative Nonfiction category of the CBC Literary Awards, winning first place for "Quick-quick. Slow. Slow." in 2010. In 2013, her essay "Soft Shoulder" earned a Western Magazine Gold Award.
She currently divides her time between Prince George and Kelowna, BC.