Poetry in Motion: David Martin + Kink Bands

For his sophomore collection Kink Bands (NeWest Press), poet David Martin explores the intersection between geology and language. Today he reads “Eroded Travel” from the book, on location in Bragg Creek Provincial Park.

The cover of Kink Bands by David Martin, which shows the geologic striation patterns found on mountainsides.


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Poetry in Motion

David Martin on Kink Bands

In my most recent collection of poems, Kink Bands, I chose to focus on geology, as I was fascinated with the history of the science, with the language opportunities that it presented, and with the metaphorical resource it offered to think about all kinds of subjects. Some of the poems explore fossils of plants and animals (and even a “fossilized” town in the Rocky Mountains), while others look to the stratigraphic layers of our language and what we can unearth by digging into words.

The poem that I’m reading an excerpt from in the video is called “Eroded Travel.” This narrative piece follows my family journeying into the Rockies, with stops along the way at rivers and a glacier, and the trip becomes an opportunity to consider ideas such as deep time, family histories that reveal themselves like outcroppings, and changes in the environment, like the receding Athabasca Glacier.

Behind me in the video you can see an example of an anticline (just above my left shoulder), a geological formation in which the rock layers are folded into an upside-down U-shape, slowly over millions of years. This particular anticline is found at Bragg Creek Provincial Park, and it’s really amazing to me to see such dramatic geological forces displayed so visibly.

David reads “Eroded Travel” from the book

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David Martin works as a literacy instructor in Calgary and as an organizer for the Single Onion Poetry Series. His first collection, Tar Swan (NeWest Press, 2018), was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize. David’s work has been awarded the CBC Poetry Prize, and has been shortlisted for prizes from FreeFall, Vallum, PRISM international, and the Alberta Magazine Awards. As well, his poems have appeared in numerous journals across Canada. His next collection, Kink Bands, is published by NeWest Press in September 2023.

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