I began this blog back in 2011 to write about the city as text and text as the city. I was noticing many examples in Vancouver of “literary buildings”—buildings that contained written text on it, such as a poem or a phrase. I was fascinated by this combination, how a city is a surface to be read, and how some architects make this literal.
I don’t talk about architecture as much on here as I used to, but cities (particularly Vancouver) still heavily inform my creative writing practice, which is focusing on poetry.
I’m saying all this to lead up to an exciting announcement: this past summer, my poem “Text to Vancouver” was published in PRISM international, a quarterly literary magazine based in Vancouver.
Given the content of my poem, I was thrilled my piece found a home in this particular magazine among many writers whose work I admire.
If you’d like to read it, you can order a print copy here. To whet your appetite, I will say that I wrote this poem after reading Elizabeth Bishop’s “Letter to N.Y. ” The rhythm of her poem captured me and I wanted to write my own version to my city, but update it for the twenty-first century. Kits Pool, designated bike lanes, and glass condos are some Vancouver references I place in there (I initially wrote “thrown in” and realized how wrong that is. Nothing in poetry is ever thrown in!)
Speaking of publications, you may notice that I’ve also put up a new Publications page. The writing life has plenty of discouraging moments and I feel it’s important to celebrate what I’ve done so far, as I aim to keep pursuing this path. Hence me sharing this news with you!
Thank you for reading and encouraging me in your own ways. If you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear what little or big thing you’re celebrating. We could all use more reason to!
Two years ago, I started the new year with a poem.
I know quite a few people for whom 2015 simply sucked. Knocked the wind right out of them. Pulled them under and left them gasping for air.
It came like a blur for us in the winter and spring and then slammed on the brakes in the fall. The adrenaline, exhaustion, and excitement of planning a wedding culminated in the most joyful day of my life on May 16 when I married the Artist.
Things slowed to a good rhythm over the summer, as we settled into my apartment together and either got back to or started work. And then the fall hit us with a devastating wait for my husband’s work permit, something we are still waiting and hoping for.
So I chose this poem for all who felt like they just survived the past year. Sure, we’d all prefer to be thriving, but I like that this poet makes space to celebrate even the surviving.
And there’s always hope. The second or twenty-third wind is coming. May you catch it this year.
in celebration of surviving
by Chuck Miller
when senselessness has pounded you around on the ropes
and you’re getting too old to hold out for the future
no work and running out of money,
and then you make a try after something that you know you won’t get
and this long shot comes through on the stretch
in a photo finish of your heart’s trepidation
then for a while
even when the chill factor of these prairie winters puts it at fifty below
you’re warm and have that old feeling
of being a comer, though belated
in the crazy game of life
standing in the winter night
emptying the garbage and looking at the stars
you realize that although the odds are fantastically against you
when that single January shooting star
flung its wad in the maw of night
it was yours
and though the years are edged with crime and squalor
the second wind, or twenty-third
is coming strong
and for a time
perhaps a very short time
one lives as though in a golden envelope of light