Natalie Simpson lives in Calgary, Alberta and is the author of accrete or crumble and Thrum. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including Shy, The Best Canadian Poetry in English, Ground Rules, Shift & Switch, and Post-Prairie. Simpson curates filling Station magazine’s flywheel reading series and is highly active in the Calgary poetry scene.
Jeanette Lynes is from Hanover, Ontario and is the author of six collections of poetry and one novel, The Factory Voice, a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the ReLit Award. Lynes has taught creative writing at the Banff Centre, the Sage Hill Writing Experience, St. Francis Xavier University, and the University of Manitoba. She is a former editor at The Antigonish Review, and is currently Coordinator of the new MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan.
Looking back on the issues I hoped to develop in this commentary, I am primed for a conclusion (yet do not wish to conclude). The paradox of living in the historical present, during the coldest winter in 100 years, has devolved at a slightly later moment. It is still the present, the dwarf magnolia has had its three-day bloom, several storms have come and gone, the grass is dotted with dandelions, which will not survive the next mowing cycle. This is an allegory for poetics at present—such tempestuous storms! so many dandelions! such blades to mow us down! Two issues now beg for comment before my thread is entombed in the digital archive of contemporary poetics. One is the persistent presentism that afflicts our present time; and the second is the consistent projection of that presentism onto the history that preceded it. The concept of period style is the designated blade runner for this task, reducing the history of difference and antagonism for a diminished textuality, materiality, indexicality.
But each place is well and each well a hole encircled by hunters on their hams with spears listening between the broken and whole words into the darkness below for the sound of their breathing and the breathing of the hole in the dark for some fall that is after all cause for image projected staring back into them with red eyes. With hard heavy shoulders. With terror.