You Are Here

“You are here” – My latest weathergram installation, now playing in Bowen Park (Nanaimo).

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Devolution – poems of the Ecopocalypse

I am honoured to announce that I have just signed a contract with Caitlin Press for my next poetry book, currently titled Devolution.

Devolution will be my 8th book and is my personal act of Extinction Rebellion. The poems and fables speak to ecological unraveling, social confusion, private pilgrimage, wildness, cities, The Anthropocene. Stylistically, one might use labels like absurdism, surrealism, fabulism, speculative, slipstream, satire.

For a sneak preview of Devolution, have a look at my poems on the Dark Mountain website, where I am currently the Featured Mountaineer. All of my writings published in Dark Mountain anthologies over the years will be included in Devolution.

I have been working on the poems in Devolution for about 12 years. And as some of you know, I have been engaged in the fight of my life against 2 different cancers for the last 4 of those years. (Both cancers are currently in remission, I am happy to report. And 2019 is looking like it will be a very auspicious year for me, entering it as I am with good health and a publishing contract for the new book!)

As my health spiralled ever lower in the last 4 years, my poems about planetary collapse and ecopocalypse began to resonate eerily inside my own collapsing body, as though macrocosm and microcosm were locked in some perverse pas de deux.

But my mind, being what it is, is only able to translate loss of this magnitude into absurdism and strangeness. So if you’re looking for gloom and doom and hand-wringing, Devolution will not be the book for you.

Devolution is scheduled to be released in Spring 2020.  I hope to be bringing it to a festival or open mic near you.

I leave you with this sample, “Atlantis,” originally published in OJAL.

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When Cancer Meets Poetry

I am honoured to be included in the recently launched book from Mansfield Press: Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology, edited by Priscila Uppal (RIP) and Meaghan Strimas.

As many of you know, I have now survived (or am in a state of surviving) two cancers: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Anal Cancer. (The latter is caused by the HPV virus in  most cases, including my own.) So the mission of using poetry to excavate the complexities of cancer and its effects upon our bodies and psyches and relationships–that is a mission I wanted to be a part of. And luckily for me, I was chosen by these two editors.

The book is available directly from the publisher. Or you can find it in quality bookstores and on Amazon.

My contribution to the book is my poem ‘Transported,” which you can read here:

And here I am in my late-autumn garden showing off my two contributor copies of the anthology. I held the image of my garden in my mind and in my belly each day while undergoing radiation this past summer. My garden is the externalization of my life force energy.

 

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Undead Among Us!

They’re heeeere…. I was delighted to receive my contributor copy yesterday of UNDEAD: A Poetry Anthology of Ghosts, Ghouls, and More, from Apex Publications.

If you’re a fan of speculative literature, you’ll want this collection, featuring more than 70 poets, in your library of the spooky and strange.

My own poem “What Remains” was inspired by my frequent wanders through an abandoned industrial wasteland near the Nanaimo River Estuary by my home on Vancouver Island. It is a setting rich with mysterious objects, forgotten story, unnamed spirits.

Undead is available from Apex Publications as a trade paperback ($15) or an eBook ($4).

 

 

 

 

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DisconTent City Nanaimo (Photos)

I took a stroll through Nanaimo’s DisconTent City today. The first tents were set up here on May 17, 2018, to draw attention to the problem of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in Nanaimo.

The encampment is on city-owned industrial property at 1 Port Drive, across the street from Port Place Mall in the downtown core.

Estimates of the current population living in DisconTent City range from 200 to 450 people.

~Kim Goldberg

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Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology

I just received my contributor copy of the Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. WOWZERS! What a collection! I am so honoured to be included with my poem “Spawn” in this 460-page anthology edited by Melissa Tuckey, co-founder of Split This Rock.

Contributors are from around the world, as shown on contributor map below, and include Naomi Shihab Nye, Yusef Komunyakaa, Martín Espada, Simon J Ortiz, Sam Hamill, Dorianne Laux, Joy Harjo, Wang Ping, and many more.

Ghost Fishing is available from University of Georgia Press. Or from Amazon.

From the Introduction by Melissa Tuckey:

Eco-justice poetry is poetry born of deep cultural attachment to the land and poetry born of crisis. Aligned with environmental justice activism and thought, eco-justice poetry defines environment as “the place we work, live, play, and worship.” This is a shift from romantic notions of nature as a pristine wilderness outside of ourselves, toward recognizing the environment as home: a source of life, health, and livelihood. It is poetry at the intersection of  culture, social justice, and the environment.

CONTRIBUTOR MAP:

 

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Nanaimo Tent City – Day 1

A tent city of homeless individuals sprung up on the lawn of Nanaimo City Hall this morning. The action is in response to the city’s lack of progress on homelessness and the opioid crises locally. Six tents were standing in front of City Hall this afternoon.

Last month, City Council voted to reject $7 million from the province for supportive housing at a Chase River location. This decision fueled the launch of today’s Tent City.

And recently, central Vancouver Island medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback blasted Nanaimo City Council for creating “an obstacle to substance use treatment” in a city with an overdose death rate that is 50 per cent higher than the rest of the province.

For many months, Nanaimo City Council and city administration have been seen to be in a state of disarray, unable to move forward on urgent needs of the community because of infighting among council members and poor personnel decisions.
~Kim Goldberg

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Arrival (a triolet)

I am delighted to have my triolet “Arrival” published in the January 2018 issue of the Literary Review of Canada. The poetry theme for the January issue was ” Reflections on Canada’s 150th” — a topic that, for many poets, is rich (or fraught) with ambivalence and contradiction.

The poem itself is a triolet, a French form dating back to the 1300s, according to the form poetry mavens Kate Braid and Sandy Shreve, editors of the landmark anthology In Fine Form: The Canadian Handbook of Form Poetry.

The triolet is a form consisting of eight lines in a single octet. And five of those lines are refrain (i.e., they appear more than once). The big challenge with a poem that is so short and has so much repetition is to keep it interesting. One way to do that is by making slight variations on the lines that repeat, which is what I have done here.

The rhyme scheme for a triolet is: ABaAabAB (capital letters indicate refrains/repeated lines). So in the above poem, lines 1, 4 and 7 are supposed to be identical, as are lines 2 and 8. You can see the slight variations made to shift/create the overall meaning.

 

 

 

 

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Burial

Burial

The King of the Kookaburras feared seven words
so he dug seven holes in the earth. He knew he wasn’t crazy—
his angst was science-based. The interment of bad
language was both duty and entitlement. One night
while the kingdom’s vulnerable earlobes slumbered upon
moonlit waves of chromatic diversity, the King
of the Kookaburras summoned his seven transgender
aides to bring the seven profane words to the clearing
in the forest with the upturned earth. Each word lay slightly
curled in its cardboard coffin awaiting an evidence-based
green burial to be witnessed by the King (who fancied
himself an environmentalist). The King videotaped
the solemn proceeding on his golden fetus cam
which he won at the interstate carnival of desert limes
last year. Henceforth, the official language
was a little lighter, a little safer, a little more surreal.

~Kim Goldberg

Statement: Around the same time that the Trump administration forbade the Centers for Disease Control from using seven words, I was researching the myth of King Midas’s donkey ears. King Midas’s barber was the only one who knew about the King’s ears, and he was sworn to secrecy. But the barber could not keep the secret so he went out to a meadow, dug a hole in the ground, whispered the story into it, then filled in the hole. This didn’t work out too well for King Midas since reeds grew in the meadow and began whispering the secret the barber had buried. But I couldn’t help but be enchanted by the notion of concealing words by burying them in the ground. Is it any more fantastical than current politics in the oval office?

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River

River

The crunch of Christmas morning snow
punctuates my stroll along the river’s edge, its lazy
sprawl toward harbour, all the mysteries
of the estuary adrift upon dark arms—rotted
log, crumpled maple leaves, a wild duck’s
perfect wing cleaved from any reason.     I see
a cougar’s paw print sunken in the snow
but I keep going
past noisy squall of gulls
past bald eagles coursing above
past the kiss on my mother’s forehead
an hour ago at her nursing home
past the tiny vole gnawing at my heart
past eyes as blue
as the kingfisher see-sawing
downstream until I reach the point
where the river ends and the other thing
begins.

~Kim Goldberg

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