To This Cedar Fountain

Kate Braid

Emily Carr recorded the experience of the West Coast soul in her living landscapes and her portraits of BC’s towering firs. Kate Braid, in To This Cedar Fountain, engages Carr in conversation as only a kindred spirit could: a West Coaster, an artist, a woman with an affinity for timber. In these poems Carr’s sensual paintings envelop Braid; Emily romances the trees while Kate bears witness.

To This Cedar Fountain is a dialogue between two BC women, each a distinct voice for her own generation but both indisputably coastal souls. The first edition of this book was nominated for a Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

I don’t fit anywhere, so I’m out of everything and I ache and ache. I don’t fit in the family and I don’t fit in the church and I don’t fit in my own house as a landlady. It’s dreadful — like a game of Musical Chairs. I’m always out, never get a seat in time; the music always stops first.



The Gallery has hung this picture
on yellow. Bold move.

When people imagine their psyche
yellow is at the heart.

This is a picture by a woman
who was poor but would paint,

who fashioned her own pincushions
out of cloth and clay.

On this wall Emily speaks
from the dark cloud where

if you look, you see
a canvas patch.

She sets her own patch on heaven.
It shines like a shadow on the sun.


Kate Braid has been powerfully attracted to Emily Carr—as a woman of great courage and perseverance, as a passionate painter and a memorable writer. And without doubt Emily Carr—who never could abide sycophantic flattery—would have recognized a sympathetic spirit in the strength, unadorned directness and clarity of these poems which she inspired Kate to write. In coupling quotations from Carr’s Journals with her own vibrant poetry, Braid has created a wonderful book.

—Doris Shadbolt
Author of The Art of Emily Carr