by Shauna Paull
Shauna Paull takes risks with form in these
long poems which flow across the page, pile up against margins right
and left, undercut and roughen, spill into deep silent pools. No visual
clues direct the reader, no titles, no capital letters, no table of
contents, no page numbers to signal the end of one story and the beginning
of another — we are set adrift, like the women and children
of these poems, asked to consider what wholeness we can make.
In the words of Toni
Morrison, language does not ‘pin down’ slavery, genocide,
war. Its force, its felicity, is in its reach toward the ineffable.
The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined
and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers.
Likewise, roughened in undercurrent glimpses
the common astonishments of lives lived at risk, the confinements
of isolation, relational and state oppression and the persistent miracle
Here, a poet holds the trembling stories
of loss: :a young woman’s death in detention, a man with
aids, dying on the street, a man committing a war crime, a woman navigating
in solitude the violations of her past. Here, at the juncture of witness
and experience, modern urban fracture and the body’s deep and
awful silences, a poet reaches toward the place where meaning may
Here is a poet’s hard to hold desire
toward justice, a voice that allies with the undercurrents of modern
living; its complex notes of resistance, resilience and being, a hungry
eye that watches from a far singing place beyond sense, and not
Here, finally, is the transparence and the
necessity of hope — what birds, in their flightsongs, know and
share with us. Listen, listen.
Cover photograph by Donna H. Hagerman
Photography. Donna Hagerman graduated from Emily Carr College
of Art with honors in photography. Since then she has shown her art
photography in galleries, curated, and organized art shows. She currently
works as a commercial and portrait photographer: www.donnahagerman.com
Cover model is Salome Diaz, Artistic director of
Continuum at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.