In these thoughtful, yet playful poems, Belford builds a poetry experience for the curious reader can open anywhere, read, and read on.
Although the phrasing of his lines is unusual, Ken Belford’s poetry is not easily forgotten. His poetry collections, like this one, his slick reckoning, are experiences the curious reader can open anywhere, read, turn the page, and read on. It’s not necessary to begin at the beginning nor to read to the end to get a good sense of what this poet is about. Read a little, or read a lot, he’s worth it.
Ken Belford is a timber framer. He has managed a northern wood lot, from which he has milled his own lumber, carrying out most of the timbers for his buildings on his back. These thoughtful, yet playful poems tell of powerful connections artfully made, of an earned sense of how things work, and an intimate awareness of the cycle of all things.
For more than half his life, Ken Belford lived “back of beyond” in the Skeena mountains, in Gitxsan territory. He lived, all that time, “around the corner” from the colonizer. He is an unusual man, not your usual white guy, and his reputation has to do with land, and how people live on it.
The “self-educated lan(d)guage poet” has said that living for decades in the “back country” has afforded him a unique relationship to language that rejects the colonial impulse to write about nature, but speaks from the regions of the otherCurrently living in Prince George, British Columbia, with his activist wife, Si, Belford continues to write outside the boundaries of the conventional forms of the various schools of poetry.
His seven previous books of poetry are Fireweed, The Post Electric Caveman, Pathways into the Mountains, lan(d)guage, when snakes awaken, ecologue, Decompositions, and Internodes.