From the Poplars by Cecily NicholsonFrom the Poplars by Cecily Nicholson

From the Poplars

byCecily Nicholson

Paperback | April 15, 2014

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BC Book Prize, Poetry: Cecily Nicholson, From the Poplars (Winner)In the North Arm of British Columbia's Fraser River lies an uninhabited island. Guarded by water from the city of New Westminster's bustling industrial and shipping district, Poplar Island is lush and unspoken, but storied. It is the traditional territory of the Qayqayt peoples. Made into property, a parcel of land belonging to the New Westminster and Brownsville Indians," itis the location of one of British Columbia's first Indian Reserves. Polar Island is a landscape marred by colonization, where Indigenous smallpox victims from the south coast were forced into quarantine, substandard care, and burial. Once their peoples were decimated and the land taken, wrangled and exchanged between levels of government the trees were clear-cut for industry, including shipbuilding during the First World War and booming anchorage for local sawmills. From the Poplars is the poetic outcome of archival research and of keeping an ear to the ground - of listening to the stories of an earth scoured by colonization, inequality, and extraction. It is a meditation on an unmarked, twenty-seven and a half acres of land held as government property: a monument to colonial plunder on the waterfront of a city built upon erasures. From an emplaced poet and resident of New Westminster, this text contributes to present narratives on decolonization. It is an honouring of river and riparian density, and a witness to resilience. It tempers a silence that inevitably will be heard. parcel bought and sold as the record shows stolenquarantine and bury there the government not taking graves into account warships were built view down a launch ramp"
Cecily Nicholson has worked in the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver since 2000, in recent years as a coordinator of the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. She is currently the Administrator of Gallery Gachet. Her collaborative efforts include work with ReWorks in Progress at Algoma University and the Shingwauk Residential School...
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Title:From the PoplarsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:104 pages, 8.73 × 5.27 × 0.27 inPublished:April 15, 2014Publisher:Talon Books LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889228566

ISBN - 13:9780889228566

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Nicholson writes through and around Poplar Island, working from historical research, observation and an eye towards social justice, exploring what Dorothy Livesay famously called the 'documentary poem,' providing a kind of poetic, historical and critical portrait of the island, its people and those who have impacted upon either or both. ... a long poem that does more than simply replicating information, but using that information to help shape a series of collage movements in the form ofthe long poem."- The Small Press Book Review"In this subtle construction, Cecily Nicholson invigorates the long documentary poem. Through the investigation of the history of use and ownership of a seemingly surplus space - Poplar Island in the Fraser River in the deindustrializing area of New Westminster - Nicholson poetically points to the central social and economic contradictions of the present. Like her previous book, Triage, From the Poplars is a work of great conviction and poetic attention that activateswhat T.J. Demos calls 'the force of the political in art.'"- Jeff Derksen, author of The Vestiges and a New Westminster Secondary School graduate"This work that is this place, British and Columbia. Oh bravery where the town of towns is un/covered, o beloved place of my youth, where injustice, where absence, where silence. With a break into language that un-settles the ideology of settlement, Cecily Nicholson flenses the historical surface: this is a writer unafraid of investigation, in whose hands juxtaposition is an art, a poet tuned enough in the ear, to create a rhythm that embodies what I call L-A-N-G-U-A/lyric. Nicholson not only extends the praxis of the line, she crafts a new subaltern blues. The pages of this book vibrate; they are the material of the genuinely new: growing up here by the Fraser, attending high school up on the hill, I'd hear about 'what happened on the Island.' This book illuminates. Nicholson is one of a very few poets whose skill combines tender precision with flint-like intellect, and her arrow pierces. I set out to read From the Poplars in measured fashion, taking my time. The book took hold and I could not put it down. The last section of this collection scalds with discovery: we journey to The Island, 'under bridges between ramps across from the parking lot' and become ephemera ... This is poetry to change you, to stop you in your tracks, those that run creosote soaked, down by the river. You will say the words of this book out loud, again and again. You will get in your car, get on that bus, you will board the train and visit the town of towns, oh ghosts, that sing. And, Cecily."- Renee Sarojini Saklikar, author of children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections"