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Poetry Canadian

beholden

a poem as long as the river

by (author) Fred Wah & Rita Wong

Publisher
Talonbooks
Initial publish date
Dec 2018
Category
Canadian, Places, Nature
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781772012118
    Publish Date
    Dec 2018
    List Price
    $24.95

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Description

Comprised of two lines of poetic text flowing along a 114-foot-long map of the Columbia River, this powerful image-poem by acclaimed poets Fred Wah and Rita Wong presents language yearning to understand the consequences of our hydroelectric manipulation of one of North America’s largest river systems.

beholden: a poem as long as the river stems from the interdisciplinary artistic research project “River Relations: A Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River,” undertaken as a response to the damming and development of the Columbia River in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, as well as to the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Authors Fred Wah and Rita Wong spent time exploring various stretches of the river, all the way to its mouth near Astoria, Oregon. They then spent several months creating long poems along the Columbia, each searching for a language that evoked the complexities of our colonial appropriation of it. beholden was then assembled as a page-turning book that reproduces the two long poems as they respond to the meanderings of the river flowing two thousand kilometres through Canada, the United States, and the territories and reserves of Indigenous Peoples. Visual artist Nick Conbere then transferred this winding footprint into a monumental, 114-foot horizontal banner.

beholden: a poem as long as the river “reads” the geographic, historical, political, and social dimensions of the Columbia River, literally and figuratively, proposing two contrasting kinds of attention. As both a stand-alone poem and an accompanying piece to the visual installation exhibited at various galleries, beholden represents a vital contribution to a larger dialogue around the river through visual art, writing, and public engagement.

About the authors

Born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1939, celebrated Canadian poet Fred Wah was raised in the interior of British Columbia. He is the author of over 20 published works of poetry and prose-poetry, including the award-winning creative non-fiction Diamond Grill, the tenth anniversary edition of which was released in the fall of 2006. Other notable titles by Wah include his book of poetry Waiting For Saskatchewan (Turnstone Press), winner of a Governor General’s Award in 1985, and Faking it: Poetics and Hybridity, winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Writing in Canadian literature. In 2008, he published a collection of poetic image/text projects titled Sentenced to Light (Talonbooks), and in 2010, he won the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize for poetry for is a door (Talonbooks).Fred Wah was one of the founding editors of the poetry journal TISH. After graduate work in literature and linguistics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he worked with Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, he returned to Canada. He has been involved in teaching internationally in poetry and poetics since the early 1960s. In 2011, Wah became Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate, the fifth poet to do so. In 2013, he was made an Officer in the Order of Canada. Fred Wah currently works and lives in Vancouver.

Fred Wah's profile page

Rita Wong teaches in Critical + Cultural Studies at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada, where she has developed a humanities course focused on water, with the support of a fellowship from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. She is currently researching the poetics of water, supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada: http://downstream.ecuad.ca/ .

Her poems have appeared in anthologies such as Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women's Poetry and Poetics, Regreen: New Canadian Ecological Poetry, Visions of British Columbia (published for an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery), and Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literature. She has a passion for daylighting buried urban streams and for watershed literacy. Wong can be found on twitter at https://twitter.com/rrrwong.

Rita Wong's profile page

Awards

  • Short-listed, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Editorial Reviews

"A stunning book that reminds us the Columbia has a 'dignity that cannot be taken away, not by the buzz of wires, not by the hum of highway, not by induced amnesia, because water remembers.'"
—Geoffrey Nilson, Coast Mountain Culture

"The book is a homage to the Columbia, a reverent celebration of its life-giving water, its flora and fauna, and the Indigenous people who protected and protect the river."
—The Ormsby Review

Other titles by Fred Wah

Other titles by Rita Wong

Current, Climate

The Poetry of Rita Wong

by (author) Rita Wong
edited by Nicholas Bradley

Luminous Ink

Writers on Writing in Canada

edited by Tessa McWatt, Rabindranath Maharaj & Dionne Brand
contributions by Margaret Atwood, Madeleine Thien, M.G. Vassanji, Lawrence Hill, Pascale Quiviger, Nino Ricci, Sheila Fischman, Heather O'Neill, Camilla Gibb, Eden Robinson, Lee Maracle, Rawi Hage, Michael Helm, Lisa Moore, Rita Wong, Hiromi Goto, George Elliott Clarke, Nicole Brossard, Judith Thompson, David Chariandy, Richard Van Camp, Marie-Hélène Poitras, Stephen Henighan, Greg Hollingshead, Michael Ondaatje & Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

downstream

reimagining water

edited by Dorothy Christian & Rita Wong

perpetual

by (author) Rita Wong & Cindy Mochizuki

undercurrent

by (author) Rita Wong

Greening the Maple

Canadian Ecocriticism in Context

edited by Ella Soper & Nicholas Bradley
contributions by Northrop Frye, Margaret Atwood, Rosemary Sullivan, Sherrill E. Grace, Heather Murray, D.M.R. Bentley, Laurie Ricou, Linda Hutcheon, Gabriele Helms, Susie O'Brien, Jenny Kerber, Catriona Sandilands, Cheryl Lousley, Linda Morra, Stephanie Posthumus, Elise Salaun, Rita Wong, Misao Dean, Carrie Dawson, Pamela Banting, Adam Dickinson, Travis V. Mason & Nelson Gray

sybil unrest

by (author) Larissa Lai & Rita Wong

Forage

by (author) Rita Wong

Writing the Terrain

Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets

contributions by Ian Adam, Robert Stamp, Tammy Armstrong, Margaret Avison, Douglas Barbour, John O. Barton, Doug Beardsley, Bonnie Bishop, E.D. Blodgett, Robert Boates, George Bowering, Tim Bowling, Jan Boydol, Gordon Burles, Murdoch Burnett, Anne Campbell, Weyman Chan, Leonard Cohen, Dennis Cooley, Joan Crate, Michael Cullen, Cyril Dabydeen, Lorne Daniel, Alexa DeWiel, Jason Dewinetz, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cecelia Frey, Gary Geddes, Gail Ghai, Deborah Godin, Jim Green, Leslie Greentree, Vivian Hansen, Tom Henihan, Michael Henry, Walter Hildebrandt, Gerald Hill, Robert Hilles, Nancy Holmes, Richard Hornsey, Tom Howe, Aislinn Hunter, Bruce Hunter, Laurence Hutchman, Sally Ito, Pauline Johnson, Aleksei Kazuk, Robert Kroetsch, Fiona Lam, William Latta, Tim Lilburn, Alice Major, Kim Maltman, Miriam Mandel, Sid Marty, David McFadden, Barry McKinnon, Erin Michie, Deborah Miller, Anna Mioduchowska, James M. Moir, Colin Morton, Erin Moure, Charles Noble, P.K. Page, Rajinderpal Pal, Ruth Roach Pierson, Joseph Pivato, Roberta Rees, D.C. Reid, Monty Reid, R. rickey, Ken Rivard, Stephen Scobie, Allan Serafino, Joan Shillington, Greg Simison, Carol Ann Sokoloff, Karen Solie, Stephan Stephansson, Peter Stevens, Ivan Sundal, Anne Swannell, Vanna Tessier, Colleen Thibadeau, John O. Thompson, James M. Thurgood, Eva Tihanyi, Yvonne Trainer, Aritha van Herk, Rosalee van Stelten, Miriam Waddington, James Wreford Watson, Wilfred Watson, Tom Wayman, Phyllis Webb, Jon Whyte, Christine Wiesenthal, Sheri-D Wilson, Christopher Wiseman, Stacie Wolfer, Rita Wong, Richard Woollatt & Jan Zwicky

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