Born Out of This

Christine Lowther

Born Out of This follows Christine Lowther’s journey from the unutterable loss of her mother to the discovery of her own poetic voice through deep reflection and her intimate connection to the coastal rainforest. She looks back on her mother’s poetry and activism. She recalls the day the police arrested her father, and the indifferent beauty surrounding that life-changing moment.

Tumbling through the years that follow, Lowther searches for her own identity—foster homes, punk rock concerts, activism and wanderings in Europe fill her hours but leave her searching. Ultimately she is drawn back to the forests and coast of her home.

With remarkable poetic vision, Lowther weaves her words and her mother’s poetry into the landscape, until language and land are inseparable. She describes the waning days of spawning salmon: “barely submerged, the dark grey still-living move slowly among the dead, except for sudden splashes, bursts of energy, pinnacles of desperation.” Nothing is simple in this dense, temperate jungle, and even this routine tragedy renews: “This landscape of gore nourishes and fertilizes the trees and berry bushes.”

With over twenty years of poetic devotion to Clayoquot Sound, Christine Lowther entrances readers through the stunning vividness of her writing, profound reflections on our place in the natural world and its ultimate indifference to us: “We … humans stand between forest and ocean like acupuncture needles, feeling the world pulsing with its endless cycles.” Steeped in the immense beauty of the coastal rainforest, this indifference is strangely reassuring.

“Canadian rural-dweller Christine Lowther presents a quieter, localized, and deeply introspective persona over the 23 essays of Born Out of This. If a footprint, she’d strive to make the least destructive impression. Even when roving across Europe, the narrating voice feels inward, soft-spoken and finely attuned to the nuance of place.”

Vancouver Sun

“Unlike other contributions to the genre … Lowther embraces the fluidity between urban and wilder places in a way that is wholly her own, and she includes meditations on urban wildlife and calls for the ‘mingling’ of writers across the coast’s social landscape. Daring to crisscross activist stereotypes and literary genres, Lowther’s passion lives up to her title.

BC Studies

“As readers we can be inspired by the courage with which Christine Lowther has ‘blundered [her] way out of despair’…”

–Mary Ann Moore, Eyes on BC

“Passion, wonder, humour, courage, gratitude. These are words that come to mind when reading Christine Lowther’s spirited memoir, Born Out of This. While the trauma and grief Lowther has endured are inconceivable, her resilience and strength are very real. In these linked essays a remarkable writer takes her place, not in the shadow of, but alongside her mother, the late poet, Pat Lowther.”

–Patricia Young, author of An Auto-erotic History of Swings (Sono Nis Press, 2010) and Night-Eater (Quattro Books, 2012)

“A cool and colourful look at life, activism and punk, which is really all the same thing, isn’t it?”

–Joe Keithley, D.O.A.

“Born Out of This is a memoir of savageries and beauties written in a style that is reverent but never precious. Lowther is at home in the natural world — this landscape of disorder — in a way few people are. She lives and writes from the margins with the eye of a naturalist … Through it all, her mother’s spirit is her guide.”

–Eve Joseph, author of In the Slender Margin (HarperCollins, 2014)

“In Born Out of This Christine Lowther partners spirit of place with an exploration of self in a sensitive and celebratory dance of natural beauty and human creativity.”

–Candace Fertile, Room

2015 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize — Finalist