In this masterful collection, Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jane Munro balances her signature themes—dream life, the visual arts, the mysteries of the natural world—with an urgent, more directly political voice.
While not shirking painful realities, the poems support the human capacity to climb ladders, arrive at fresh points of view, listen to one another, and greet despair with attention, wit—and hope.
About the author
Jane Munro's sixth poetry collection Blue Sonoma (Brick Books) won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. A member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko's Dogs, she has been a professor of Creative Writing at several universities in BC, taught many informal writing workshops, and read her poetry to audiences across Canada. For more than twenty years, she has studied (in Canada and in India) and practiced Iyengar Yoga. In 2012, she moved back to Vancouver--where she grew up and raised her children--after spending twenty years living rurally on the coast of Vancouver Island.
"Across False Creek these poems tread on two layers of time, the past where the original Musqueam Village was razed, and a present paved with unease. To live there is to dwell in ambiguity which Jane Munro speaks to with biting awareness of the settlers’ empowering deceit: “this was not terra nullius1// to face truth/ as its beneficiary, I commit systemic violence/shame feels violent…does that count.” Her poems can also be magical. It is difficult to make new magic of the moon, but Jane Munro’s “Nursing the Moon” does: “on days the nipple falls out/ milk spills, unswallowed/you pass the moon across, attach it/to your other ache”. A wish to be a tiger, through the niftiness of her verse and imagination turns her into one; an alligator curls around the leg of a chair, like her wiles and wit round the inside of our heads. Move into the mythic, the fey, the marvellous she may, but always she returns to earth and always that earth layered with history and consequences of conquest. Share a fear ― her right hand, the working hand might not function ― and she taps into a writer’s and modern electronic tool user’s dread that we might not be able to handle the ubiquitous mouse. But readers need not fear, her right hand works loss into wonders and heart-felt awarenesses in False Creek where “the Skwxwú7mesh Nation has approved/ the development of six thousand new homes/ in eleven towers…this is not a city decision/ but/Vancouver will have/ a new hub.”"
George McWhirter, author of <i>The Anachronicles</i>
"Jane Munro’s False Creek is illuminated by generous humanity and deft virtuosity. Her poetry is wholly new, yet at the same time reminiscent of the elegance and simplicity of the best-known poets of the Tang dynasty. Alive to the worlds of dream and imagination, she also confronts the violence of history. Written by a poet at the top of her form, False Creek opens a cabinet of wonders."
Anne Simpson, author of <i>Speechless</i>
"False Creek is a meditation. Infused with dollops of eastern tradition, contemplation, and observation, Jane Munro uses clear, specific images to reflect on the universal of big ideas. In the tradition of William Blake’s “To see a world in a grain of sand. And a heaven in a wild flower” Munro, too, observes time as the ever present rippling that extends to both the past and the future. She contemplates what lasts, and what cannot last. “The tongue, the penis, and the brain / do not have bones.” In this collection, we dwell as temporary and paradoxically both base, and divine. Munro is the walking poet, philosopher of Vancouver, keenly noting the temporary nature of all things including even time."
Micheline Maylor, author of <i>The Bad Wife</i>
"With the grace of “water / the surprise / source of energy,” Jane Munro finds her way amidst the confluences of ecological disaster and despair, settler-Indigenous relations, and griefs of body and soul. Uncovering both dissonances in scale and resonances between human and planetary space and time, she corrects our sense of ourselves, urging us towards change. These often spare poems model the difficult but necessary practices of openness, curiosity, self-scrutiny, and show “where we’re at … what’s beyond us."
Maureen Scott Harris, author of <i>Drowning Lessons</i> and <i>Slow Curve Out</i>