Sweet Water

Poems for the Watersheds

Edited by Yvonne Blomer

Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds gathers the voices of poets from across Canada, the US and the UK who write of water.  Bottled, clouded, held in rain, in river, estuary and lake, sweet water is the planet’s life force and the poets here examine it from every angle – the pitcher plant, the beaver and the American Bull Frog, rain, clouds, smog, the many ducks and the salmon and the last lake sturgeon. Poets take us to the rivers they live along – and grieve daily – the Peace River Canyon, Chilcotin, Taylor River, the Humber River, Millstone River, the Fraser River, and more.

In Canada, the watershed runs into the Pacific, Arctic, Hudson Bay and the Atlantic. This water houses the aquatic ecosystems that feed and nurture not only the people, industries and animals on land but also drains into the world’s oceans. It is part of the hydrologic cycle that begins with water evaporation to become groundwater that seeps into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. It is the water we bathe in, drink, and with which we grow our food. As it becomes more and more poisoned from industrial corporations, mining and the many, too many humans on our planet, it also becomes more and more endangered. We are paying attention. We are aware of the watershed moment that we inhabit in the twenty-first century. We know that change must come.

Contributors include Kate Braid, Gary Barwin, Katherena Vermette, Arleen Paré, John Pass, Ariel Gordon, Brian Brett, Rita Wong, Fred Wah, Trevor Carolan, John Terpstra, Russell Thornton, Zoë Landale, Christine Lowther, Elena Johnson, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Daniela Elza, Rhonda Ganz, Geoffrey Nilson, Pamela Porter, Barbara Pelman, Kelly Shepherd, Rob Taylor, Zachariah Wells, Bren Simmers, and more.

“Stop. Slow down. Suspend time. Let your soul come to rest in this haunting book as you take a quiet journey to a watershed that someone cherishes. Sweet Water examines our relationship to water in all its forms by the best poets among us and powerfully reminds us of our dependence on this precious life force. A wonderful collection.”
—Maude Barlow, activist, honourary chair of the Council of Canadians, and author of Whose Water Is It, Anyway?: Taking Water Protection into Public Hands

“It is no secret that freshwater has become more scarce as fossil fuel industry expansion and other dangerous land use practices continue. This refreshing volume, whose pages are made possible by the same substance that allows us to live in pursuit of decolonization and other forms of justice, is essential. If these charge-sequenced poems can prompt reflection on the stuff of reflecting pools, lives and ecosystems will be richer for it.”
— Christine Leclerc, author of the long poem Oilywood (Nomados Editions, 2013)

“A few examples can only hint at what’s contained in this collection, which is bigger than the sum of its poems. The personal and the political diverge and collide again and again. The poets’ tone and words and meter and focus shift from poem to poem, adding a linguistic complexity that so admirably suits the many-faceted subject of this timely anthology.”
Island Writer magazine (18.2)

Sweet Water is a wonderful, heartfelt book with much to teach us about our relationship to fresh water, its life cycle and the threats it faces.”
The Ormsby Review

Sweet Water is a beautiful contribution to a growing body of literature on the ecological crisis, offering not only exquisite observation but deeply felt experience and clear reason for action.”
Understorey Magazine


  • Maleea Acker —Victoria BC
  • Solveig Adair—Terrace BC
  • Susan Alexander—Bowen Island BC
  • Laura Apol—Lyons MI (USA)
  • John Barton—Victoria BC
  • Gary Barwin—Hamilton ON
  • Lee Beavington—Surrey BC
  • Barbara Black—Victoria BC
  • Robert A Boates—Hamilton ON
  • Nicholas Bradley—Victoria BC
  • Kate Braid—Victoria BC
  • Terri Brandmueller—Vancouver BC
  • Brian Brett—Vancouver BC
  • Jenna Butler—Red Deer AB
  • Claire Caldwell—Toronto ON
  • Trevor Carolan—Fraser Valley BC
  • Terry Ann Carter—Victoria BC
  • Karen Charleson—Tofino BC
  • Karen Chester—Victoria BC
  • Daniel Cowper—Bowen Island BC
  • Michael De Danann—Courtenay BC
  • Lauren de Gaine—Victoria BC
  • Wendy Donawa—Victoria BC
  • Daniela Elza—Vancouver BC
  • Dorothy Field—Victoria BC
  • Heather Fraser—Victoria BC
  • Art Fredeen—Prince George BC
  • Rhonda Ganz—Victoria BC
  • Kim Goldberg—Nanaimo BC
  • Alisa Gordanier—Victoria BC
  • Ariel Gordon—Winnipeg MB
  • Laurie D. Graham—Peterborough ON
  • Marlene Grand Maitre—Victoria BC
  • Raine Gutierrez—Victoria BC
  • Gillian Harding-Russell—Regina SK
  • Maureen S. Harris—Toronto ON
  • Richard Harrison—Calgary AB
  • Diana E Hayes—Salt Spring Island BC
  • Steven Heighton—Kingston ON
  • Iain Higgins—Victoria BC
  • Bruce Hunter—Thornhill ON
  • Maureen Hynes—Toronto ON
  • Ishtar—Victoria BC
  • M.W. Jaeggle—Montreal QC
  • Elena Johnson—Vancouver BC
  • Alyse Knorr—Denver CO (USA)
  • Beth Kope—Victoria BC
  • Elee Kraljii Gardiner—Vancouver BC
  • Aaron Kreuter—Toronto ON
  • Anita Lahey—Ottawa ON
  • Fiona Tinwei Lam—Vancouver BC
  • Zoe Landale—Pender Island BC
  • Joanna Lilley—Whitehorse YK
  • Daniel Lockhart—Windsor ON
  • Christine Lowther—Tofino BC
  • Tanis MacDonald—Waterloo ON
  • Dan MacIsaac—Victoria BC
  • Adelia MacWilliam—Comox BC
  • Murray Mann—Cobble Hill BC
  • David Martin—Calgary AB
  • Iiona Martonfi—Montreal QC
  • Rhona McAdam—Victoria BC
  • Wendy McGrath—Edmonton AB
  • Lorin Medley—Comox BC
  • Wendy Morton—Sooke BC
  • KJ Munro—Whitehorse YK
  • Ulrike Narwani—North Saanich BC
  • Lorri Neilsen Glenn—Halifax NS
  • Tom Nesbitt—West Vancouver BC
  • Charlie Neyelle—Deline NT
  • Geoffrey Nilson—New Westminster BC
  • Emily Olsen—Victoria BC
  • Catherine Owen—Edmonton AB
  • Nancy Pagh—Bellingham WA (USA)
  • Arleen Paré Victoria BC
  • John Pass Pender Harbour BC
  • Jeremy Pataky Anchorage AK (USA)
  • Barbara Pelman—Victoria BC
  • Kristen Pendreigh—West Vancouver BC
  • David Pimm—Vancouver BC
  • Michelle Poirier Brown—Victoria BC
  • Pamela Porter—North Saanich BC
  • Marion Quednau—Gibsons BC
  • Brent Raycroft—Sydenham ON
  • dc reid—Victoria BC
  • Al Rempel—Prince George BC
  • Rebekah Rempel—Pouce Coupe BC
  • Harold Rhenisch—Vernon BC
  • Dominique Russell—Toronto ON
  • Dennis Saddleman—Merritt BC
  • Eleonore Schönmaier—Ketch Harbour NS
  • Christine Schrum—Victoria BC
  • Jackie Seidel—Calgary AB
  • Kelly Shepherd—Edmonton AB
  • Bren Simmers—Charlottetown PE
  • Christine Smart—Salt Spring Island BC
  • Kevin Spenst—Vancouver BC
  • Susan Stenson—Duncan BC
  • George Szirtes—Norwich, England
  • Rob Taylor—Port Moody BC
  • John Terpestra—Hamilton ON
  • Russell Thornton—North Vancouver BC
  • Kurt Trzcinski—Victoria BC
  • Katherena Vermette—Winnipeg MB
  • Emily Wall— Juneau AK (USA)
  • Zach Wells—Halifax NS
  • David Williamson—Norway House MB
  • Cynthia Woodman Kerkham—Victoria BC
  • Derk Wynand—Victoria BC
  • Joe Zucchiatti—Whitehorse YK