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Poetry Nature

Sunny Ways

by (author) ryan fitzpatrick

Invisible Publishing
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Nature, Places, Canadian, Environmental Conservation & Protection
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    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
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    Apr 2023
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An off-beat examination of the denials that underpin extractive capitalism.

From the cratered lake of Chennai, India to the environmental racism of Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Tokyo-3, Sunny Ways oscillates between images of environmental collapse and resistance.

Standing waist deep in the massive tailing ponds of Alberta’s Tar Sands, Sunny Ways wades through the tangled complicities of climate catastrophe. In the process, the book grapples with the failure of political hope and the intransigence of climate change denialism. Fitzpatrick channels his experiences growing up in the big sky economic pragmatism of Calgary, where oil pays the rent and puts food on the table, into an essayistic pair of long poems that echo the ecological poetics of writers like Rita Wong, Stephen Collis, and Juliana Spahr.

About the author

ryan fitzpatrick is the author of two books of poetry and fifteen chapbooks, including Fortified Castles (Talonbooks, 2014) and Fake Math (Snare/Invisible, 2007). With Jonathan Ball, he edited Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry (Insomniac, 2014). He has participated in the literary communities of Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto. In Calgary, he was on the collective of filling Station magazine and was the organizer of the Flywheel Reading Series. In Vancouver, he earned his doctorate at Simon Fraser University, where he worked on contemporary Canadian poetry and space. In Toronto, he recently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto Scarborough and was a co-organizer of the East Loft Salon Series with Rajinderpal S. Pal and Nikki Sheppy.

ryan fitzpatrick's profile page

Excerpt: Sunny Ways (by (author) ryan fitzpatrick)

No we don’t ever get to see the impact of our lives in aggregate but
no we’ve all walked through the forest and really tried to attenuate but
no we’ve forested the planet with what deep geological time intended but
no I don’t identify as a natural resource economy per se but
no I put schools in mines and factories too but
no I’d rather get an aerial shot of Lac-Megantic not happening but

No I parked my car by the lake where we shared a bottle of wine but
no the maples are about all stripped of leaves now but
no the birches are not rich in colour but
no I’d have deep water and a horizon but
no I’d replace lost land with new land by filling open pit mines with water but
no I’d be a duck too busy navigating the air currents but
no Base Mine Lake looks like any other lake in Athabasca from a distance but

No we have decades of research that makes us horny to test at this scale but
no we won’t be able to submerge Stanley Park to a depth of three metres but
no can you do thirty but
no there’s going to be pressure to extract all of it but
no way we’re fucking waiting for spring melt

Editorial Reviews

"In this caustic missive from life’s precipice, ryan fitzpatrick rejuvenates the storied pact of lyricism and ecology for our colonial present. Neither either/or nor neither/nor, fitzpatrick’s mordant inventorying of capitalism’s last crisis resists psychic despair and millenarian elation at once; making a refrain of negation and a torrent of its double-edged critique. In its abstentions and anathemas, essays and eddies, Sunny Ways jams its own sources as it lucidly refuses the hegemony of good cheer."—Cam Scott, author of The Vanishing Signs

"fitzpatrick’s work increasingly embraces an aesthetic core shared with what has long been considered a Kootenay School of Writing standard—a left-leaning worker-centred political and social engagement that begins with the immediate local, articulated through language accumulation, touchstones and disjointedness... [However,] fitzpatrick responds to the specific concerns of his Alberta origins, emerging from a culture and climate that insists on enrichment through mineral extraction even to the point of potential self-annihilation."—rob mclennan

ryan fitzpatrick’s Sunny Ways reorients oppositional points of language, negates affirmation, exposes the internal contradictions of our ecologically disinclined economics. fitzpatrick brings you in and out of yourself, criss-crossing your feeble desires with those of extractive industries. You long for a song to ease your trepidations about the future, but you are already in that future, and the song has long been forgotten."—Anahita Jamali Rad, author of For Love and Autonomy and Still

“A wonder of a book that makes strange and new the overlapping frames of the mind in an extractive culture: locally, nationally, internationally made. This is the better anthem for our petro-state, one that makes the rhetoric flow less smoothly. Sing that sand into the gears, poet.”—Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour


Praise for Coast Mountain Foot:

"The lyric flux of ryan fitzpatrick’s poetry performs the ‘social intimacy’ at play when home is not a ‘static container.’ The poems pose an intimate tension questioning the spaces that fluctuate between living and working, renting and thinking, the coast and the foothills. These are neighbourhood songs of the self."—Fred Wah, author of Music at the Heart of Thinking

“In Coast Mountain Foot, ryan fitzpatrick enacts the empathy required to imagine spaces of possible connection outside capital. Charting the rapacious millionaire settler class currently reshaping cities everywhere, he presents Vancouver as a history of displacement, Calgary as a history of paving over. What holds a city together when everything is monetizable? Here in the struggle, fitzpatrick has carved out a space to form a social bond, if only for the length of a line."—Nikki Reimer, author of My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan

“‘No / solutions, only problematizations’ are on offer in fitzpatrick’s poems, which at turns offer biting critique, sidelong jokes or thoughtful questions … Through it all, fitzpatrick displays real command of the line, but resists showiness or performing emotion the way too many poets do, and the resulting poems ‘Don’t get / too sentimental // but don’t / abandon sentiment.’”Winnipeg Free Press


Other titles by

Future Horizons

Canadian Digital Humanities

series edited by Dean Irvine
contributions by Kiera Obbard, Sandra Djwa, Roopika Risam, Andrea Zeffiro, Deanna Fong, ryan fitzpatrick, Gregory Betts, Eric Schmaltz, Dani Spinosa, Klara du Plessis, David Gaertner, Mark V. Campbell, Jon Saklofske, Julia Polyck-O’Neill, Kim Martin, Rashmeet Kaur, Pascale Dangoisse, Constance Crompton, Michelle Schwartz, Katherine McLeod, Graham H. Jensen, Allan Cho, Sarah Zhang, Kendra Cowley, Susan Brown & Asen Ivanov
edited by Sarah Roger & Paul Barrett

Coast Mountain Foot

by (author) ryan fitzpatrick

Fortified Castles

by (author) ryan fitzpatrick

Why Poetry Sucks

Humorous Avant-Garde and Post-Avant English Canadian Poetry

edited by Jonathan Ball & ryan fitzpatrick

Writing the Terrain

Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets

contributions by Ian Adam, Robert Stamp, Tammy Armstrong, Margaret Avison, Douglas Barbour, John O. Barton, Doug Beardsley, Bonnie Bishop, E.D. Blodgett, Robert Boates, George Bowering, Tim Bowling, Jan Boydol, Gordon Burles, Murdoch Burnett, Anne Campbell, Weyman Chan, Leonard Cohen, Dennis Cooley, Joan Crate, Michael Cullen, Cyril Dabydeen, Lorne Daniel, Alexa DeWiel, Jason Dewinetz, ryan fitzpatrick, Cecelia Frey, Gary Geddes, Gail Ghai, Deborah Godin, Jim Green, Leslie Greentree, Vivian Hansen, Tom Henihan, Michael Henry, Walter Hildebrandt, Gerald Hill, Robert Hilles, Nancy Holmes, Richard Hornsey, Tom Howe, Aislinn Hunter, Bruce Hunter, Laurence Hutchman, Sally Ito, Pauline Johnson, Aleksei Kazuk, Robert Kroetsch, Fiona Lam, William Latta, Tim Lilburn, Alice Major, Kim Maltman, Miriam Mandel, Sid Marty, David McFadden, Barry McKinnon, Erin Michie, Deborah Miller, Anna Mioduchowska, James M. Moir, Colin Morton, Erin Moure, Charles Noble, P.K. Page, Rajinderpal Pal, Ruth Roach Pierson, Joseph Pivato, Roberta Rees, D.C. Reid, Monty Reid, R. rickey, Ken Rivard, Stephen Scobie, Allan Serafino, Joan Shillington, Greg Simison, Carol Ann Sokoloff, Karen Solie, Stephan Stephansson, Peter Stevens, Ivan Sundal, Anne Swannell, Vanna Tessier, Colleen Thibadeau, John O. Thompson, James M. Thurgood, Eva Tihanyi, Yvonne Trainer, Aritha van Herk, Rosalee van Stelten, Miriam Waddington, James Wreford Watson, Wilfred Watson, Tom Wayman, Phyllis Webb, Jon Whyte, Christine Wiesenthal, Sheri-D Wilson, Christopher Wiseman, Stacie Wolfer, Rita Wong, Richard Woollatt & Jan Zwicky