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Poetry Cure: I’d Write the Sea Like a Parlour Game by Alison Dyer
In today’s Poetry Cure feature I’d Write the Sea Like a Parlour Game (Breakwater Books), Alison Dyer poetically maps the “lumpy land, carving seas, and barrens that are anything but” of Newfoundland. We chat with her about biogeography and coming to poetry, and read “White Birch (the moon child)” from this debut collection-cum-love letter to nature.
An Interview with AlisonAll Lit Up: Tell us about your collection.Alison Dyer: Describing a collection of poetry that came into being over many years is a rather difficult task. Many of the poems explore the natural world and human interaction with it. But I’d say resilience, and often the beauty, of life at the margins, be that physical, societal or spiritual, is at the core of the collection. Within the collection is a suite entitled “Apostles of the Boreal,” and each poem is a paean to a native tree or shrub. That may have roots in my former life as a biogeographer, investigating Newfoundland’s post-glacial vegetational history and arboreal migration. Or as a permaculture newbie. Either way, I believe we have lessons to learn from plant life if we ever unlock their language.ALU: If you wrote a memoir, what would it be called?AD: “Confessions of an Opsimath.”ALU: What books are you currently reading?AD: I’m a slow reader, and I also tend to have several books on the go at once. I seem to be in a non-fiction mode at present. I’ve just finished Alexandra Fuller’s memoir of growing up in war-torn Africa, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, written in a refreshing style and with honesty, intimacy, and wit. Other books in progress are Diane Ackerman’s The Rarest of the Rare: vanishing animals, timeless worlds; Wade Davis’ The Wayfinders: why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world; Peter Wohlleben’s The Inner Life of Animals; several collections of poetry I return to again and again (at the moment that includes two recent collections by Don Domanski); and, oh yes, The Knot Tying Bible – I’ve finally got the Bowline down pat!ALU: What, outside of other books/writers, inspires your writing?AD: The physical geography of Newfoundland. I love the lumpy land, carving seas, and barrens that are anything but. Few things surpass a hike or kayak along the coast to calm the mind and open it to possibilities.
The PoemWhite Birch (the moon child)