New poetry written by prize-winning BC poets, musicians, and artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Brian Brett and Lorna Crozier, anthologized by Victoria's city poet-laureate. While in the world of politics there are still climate change deniers, the poets watch the warming seas, the dying birds slicked in oil, the whales, the jellies, the sea otters and the octopus. They stand, as close to the shore as possible, watch the slow turning tide. In this collection of poems from the coast of B.C., California, Washington State, to Alaska and as far away as Auckland, New Zealand and as far back as early 19th century Japan these poems explore our connection to the Pacific, what we know and don't know, how we've already changed the shore and the sea and what we fear losing.
Poets in this anthology include John Barton, Brian Brett, Bruce Cockburn, Lorna Crozier, Brenda Hillman, Gary Geddes, Steven Heighton, Patrick Lane, Arleen Paré, Melanie Siebert, Ann Simpson, Rob Taylor, Patricia Young, Jan Zwicky and many more.
In Refugium, editor Yvonne Blomer explores her deep concern with our sixth extinction and how stoic humans are continuing to wreak damage on the planet and her oceans.
About the author
Yvonne Blomer lives in Victoria, BC where she works as a poet, memoirist, writing teacher, event organizer and mom. She was born in Zimbabwe and came to Canada when she was two years old. With her husband she has taught in Japan, cycled in Southeast Asia and lived in the UK where she completed an MA in Creative Writing: Poetry. Her poems have twice been shortlisted for the CBC Literary awards and have appeared in literary journals in Canada, the US, Japan and the UK. Her first collection of poetry, a broken mirror, fallen leaf (Ekstasis Editions), was shortlisted for The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award in 2007. She is the host/organizer of the Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series in Victoria, B.C. In 2012 Yvonne’s illustrated series of poems “Bicycle Brand Journey” will launch with Jack Pine Press.
“[Refugium] is deep and wide and contains wonderful work written […] assign this as part of a class on contemporary Canadian poetry, such is its range of writers. An anthology around a conceit or a theme doesn’t always work, but this one feels focused and taut, even though there is plenty of it: eighty-three poems, many fairly long. It makes a political and poetical and common sense-case for not exploiting the natural world, a case made through accretion and good editing – that is to say, lightly but strongly.”
—University of Toronto Quarterly, 88.3 (Summer 2019)
“Refugium performs a kind of eco-location, searching for home in the wreckage, sounding out a marinium that is receding both from itself and from us, the prodigal children of the Anthropocene. Many-tentacled, this collection reaches into various aesthetic registers and gathers a range of sophisticated voices to create a whole that is, like the ocean itself, at once a single entity and a multitude.”
— Sue Sinclair, author of Heaven’s Thieves, (Brick Books), winner of the 2017 Pat Lowther Memorial Award
“Like the ocean, Refugium pushes and pulls us, comforts and terrifies us, in poems that are playful, grief-stricken, awe-struck, hopeful, condemnatory, speculative, historical, personal. But the undercurrent is all of love.”
— Amy Reiswig, Focus on Victoria