The central metaphor of the collection The Octopus and Other Poems is the search for new life in the universe—to find something beyond ourselves, and simultaneously to be “found.”
The tension between wanting to understand, and giving in to the mysteries of the universe, culminates in the long poem “The Octopus,” in which former lovers debate the merits of searching for extraterrestrial life.
He considers it a futile and wasteful endeavour, particularly since there are “alien” life forms we don’t understand right here on earth, like the octopus.
She, on the other hand, comes to realize her enjoyment of the search isn’t about aliens at all, but about the pleasure of simply hoping for something new, something spectacular.
In the end, she believes that it’s the hope of the search that matters, not finding or being found, but looking.
Jennica Harper was born in North Bay, Ontario, grew up in Brampton, and currently lives in BC where she teaches screenwriting at the Vancouver Film School. Her poetry has been published in such literary journals as The Antigonish Review, Grain, The Fiddlehead, Descant, The Malahat Review, and Prairie Fire. Her work also appeared in Larger than Life: An Anthology of Celebrity. "The Octopus" was a finalist in the National Magazine Awards.