An elegy to and celebration of British Columbia’s second-longest river, one at the centre of contemporary conversations about resource extraction and northern geographies, Skeena is an assemblage of voices, stories and histories both about the river and from the river’s perspective. As a single poetic narrative spanning more than ninety pages, this second collection of poetry by award-winning poet Sarah de Leeuw follows a Canadian tradition of long poems, weaving together poetic rendering of the river’s perceptions with archival material that includes highway signs and historical newspapers, scientific reports and local lore, geological surveys and tourist websites. Mirroring a river’s complex tributary structure and rendered in highly concentrated imagistic language and experimental description, Skeena is a poly-vocal watershed of poetry, a book that unflinchingly demands humans understand the power of a river, the life and world of the Skeena River.
“Sarah de Leeuw’s influences in Skeena are deftly written in and ridden out. Downstream of modernist scrounging and listing, Purdy’s ‘Say the Names’ and the New American form as geography of her spacious phrasing, the confluences are ultimately hers with the river’s—a strong swimmer’s progress into its fecundity, chill, detritus, splendour.”
–John Pass, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry (2006) and The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (2012)
“Skeena is a poem/assemblage of intelligence and care that contains an epic sweep of northern history, geography, and the landscape of human experience therein. It is a large determined document in and of place ‘that finds out.’ The prehistoric, the fauna, the flora, all that inhabits it–and the forces that threaten this complex–is what this writing reveals. Herein the Skeena, the river–words that move to give a new and important sense of our bearings.”
Books for sale at event from Interior Stationery.