Gulf explores the nature of longing and belonging in a transient culture. From its opening assertion, 'A neighborhood, no matter / how known, will not slip whole / into your knapsack,' the collection contends home is a portable assortment of minutiae: the taste of dirt, the solace of Home Depot, a pennant of bone. Opening on a child's displacement, the poems loosely trace the author's journey from American suburbia to small-town Canadian prairie, a transition aided by sardonic historical figures and a metric conversion chart. As the poems ricochet from coast to coast, Vryenhoek toes the U.S./Canadian border that thin line a wide gulf'- until crossing another gulf and arriving in Newfoundland, a place where being from/coming from away still holds sway in everyday dialogue. Moving from solemn and meditative to saucy and irreverent, Gulf is a collision of natural elements and technology, native species and newcomers, the inevitable rending of families and the connective tissue of memory that ties us to place.
About the author
Leslie Vryenhoek is a St. John’s-based writer and editor whose poetry, fiction and memoir have appeared across Canada and internationally and have won several awards. She is the author of Scrabble Lessons (fiction, 2009) and Gulf (poetry, 2011), both published by Oolichan. For two decades she has worked as a communications professional in education, development, emergency response and arts, including for the University of Winnipeg, the Canadian Red Cross, and Memorial University. She is currently the writer and editor for the international research/action network WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing). Leslie is also the director of Piper’s Frith: Writing at Kilmory Resort.