Geomantic riposte: 'The Fleece Era'

Joanna Lilley has lived north of the 60th parallel in Whitehorse, Yukon, since she emigrated from the UK in 2006. Her poems and stories have been published in numerous journals and anthologies and she is recipient of various prizes for her poems. Lilley helps coordinate the Whitehorse Poetry Festival and is on the advisory board of the Cascadia Poetry Festival. In addition to her playfully wry poetry collection The Fleece Era, she has a collection of short fiction forthcoming in 2015.

In a review for Quill & Quire, this is some of what Adebe D.A. had to say about The Fleece Era:

Winter weaves itself into the form and content of several poems in phrases that land on the reader’s consciousness like snow: lightly at first, then heavily in their accumulation. Several poems situation the reader in the midst of the protagonist’s own personal winter, a counterpoint to the book’s sketches of life in the Great White North.

In her poem “Neo-Colonialist”, Joanna Lilley brushes aside her sensitivities and concerns and adopts a comical tone that is (self-)critical of tropes associated with historical and economical privilege, bringing about a marvelous effect, and this crafty poetic approach amid our obsession with everything North is to be found throughout her collection.


The Fleece Era by Joanna Lilley (Brick Books, 2014, Page 97)


We’d never experienced grocery store

trauma before. We had to shop at Walmart

and save Canadian Tire money.


At last we listened to the rumour of the north.

Now, our government jobs keep Canis lupus

from the door and our coats lined,

the Subaru fuelled and the skis waxed.

We love the smell of spruce sap

in the morning.


Canada is the perfect place to come to

now that England is full up.

The towns are ugly, but

there’s space for everyone

in this megaland. We might go

country residential next year.

Clear some trees so we can see

the mountains but not the neighbours.


Geomantic Riposte:  Hankies


Bloody well get on with it so I can see the Sunday Corrie recap

speaking as the only Bakwas in the room you end up listening

to loads of acknowledgements and hand-wringing when you’d

really like to hear more about Haydn’s piano sonatas     Rot on

dangling shingles suspended over fetid sloughs in Faulknerian

glimpses of farming life with the First Nations used as imagistic

hankies for dabbing one tear as if echoing old Cree petroglyph   

so let me first thank this government for keeping me in ethno-

graphers and the mewling babes of British Lords my ancestral

diet demands because in those days we were all a bit Ugolino

chowing down on cute kids and replacing their memory with

fresh brood        as for the marginalized       Swounds show me

what thou’lt do  Woo’t weep? Woo’t fight? Woo’t fast? Woo’t

tear thyself? Woo’t drink up eisel? Eat a crocodile?  I will out-

nightmare your Colonial nightmares with piping hot horrors

table talk that nearly upset the RCMP dinner talk of Mountie

Barbie   WOOT!  there’s a handbook for writing pre-Colonial

elegies for grant judge and prize jury      it’s next to systemic