Reimagining the Indigenous Rainforests of BC's North Coast

Derrick Stacey Denholm

Derrick Stacey Denholm has spent twenty-five years as a forestry field worker, planting trees, marking cutblock boundaries and timber-cruising. In Ground-Truthing, he combines this experience with his perspective as a poet and artist to guide us through the tangle of social, ecological and economic slash piles that dominate BC’s North Coast. Scientists, poets, loggers, activists, mushroom hunters–Ground-Truthing explores this diverse terrain of communities and cultures in its search for an answer to one of our most urgent questions: How can we work productively and participate ethically in a life that maintains respect for the wild, not only in the rain-soaked forests of BC’s North Coast, but everywhere?

“Derrick Stacey Denholm … has seen a lot in his time as a timber cruiser and wandering poet, all of which feeds into his fascinating Ground-Truthing: Reimagining the Indigenous Rainforests of BC’s North Coast. I’ve long had a habit of reading quickly, linearly, in pursuit of The Point Of The Text, and that’s just not a profitable approach with Ground-Truthing. Instead, I had to keep thinking about the angles, the details, the perspectives that diverge from the straight-line approach I’d normally take … In managing to read this way, I found rewards here that I hadn’t expected, and certainly wouldn’t have found if I’d read like the cartoon academic I usually am.”

–Richard Pickard, Book Addiction

“While emphasizing the ‘local, wild, and Indigenous,’ Denholm’s work is planetary in its scope—a book that will be read and studied widely.”

Northword magazine

“Much like the rare, gem-like, and category-defying blue chanterelle mushroom about which Derrick Denholm so attentively writes, his book Ground-Truthing is an elusive literary species. Ground-Truthing transects scientific taxonomy, narrative poetry, historical inquiry, creative essay, (post)colonial theory, and grassroots community-based demands for social and ecological justice. Denholm listens to and respects wild/erness, insisting the human world has something important to learn from the biodiversity of British Columbia’s North Coast rainforests. His book is an urgent but hopeful call to once again understand the world as ‘Storied Lands,’ as wondrous, interconnected, irreplaceable homeplaces to which we must pay careful and close attention. Much of Ground-Truthing‘s ethical real work is its mapping out of new possibles, of not yet tapped potentials, of peoples’ real capacity to one day live on this planet like our lives depend on it.”

–Sarah de Leeuw, author of Geographies of a Lover (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Award for poetry), and a human geographer working as an associate professor in the University of Northern British Columbia’s Northern Medical Program, UBC’s Faculty of Medicine

Ground Truthing is not just a general nod towards the importance of conservationism; Denholm’s great success lies in his ability to create genuine reader empathy for the North Coast rainforest, perhaps even in readers who haven’t spent a lot of time considering their connection to nature.”

— Carleigh Baker, The Goose