Reviews by Yvonne
THE FLICKER TREE
Poets Jenna Butler and Yvonne Blomer are collaborating on
Desire Paths: Field Notes on Land and Body
a collection of multidisciplinary response-collages taking the form of miniature essays, poems, interviews, dialogues, photographs, and maps that interrogate the ways in which we move through space as women, and as women from different ethnic backgrounds. Through writing, we will explore the navigation and obstruction of desire paths.
Desire paths are short cuts, crossings, bike routes, and, as British essayist Robert Macfarlane says, “paths and tracks made over time by the wishes and feet of walkers.” We explore these paths both as metaphors and as real paths women have desired to walk where their bodies and lived experiences may or may not have been welcome.
CLICK THE THREE LINKS BELOW TO READ PARTS OF THE PROJECT
Field Notes from Assisi: An Excerpt is a section from a larger multi-genre project that explores women’s connection to land, ecology and history through the places we long to go and the places we have been challenged in. Desire paths are short cuts, crossings, bike routes, and, as British essayist Robert Macfarlane says, “paths and tracks made over time by the wishes and feet of walkers.” We explore these paths both as metaphors and as real paths women have desired to walk where their bodies and lived experiences may or may not have been welcome.
The Flicker Tree’s poems praise the Okanagan’s living creatures, whether they be plants, birds, animals or humans. These poems note the see-er in the ecology of the poem and of the bird, the prickly pear, and the butterfly.
In the book’s opening poem, “Earth Star,” readers are placed in the wilderness where the human hand is ever-present, “Logged two or three times, the woods are grazed and thin,/ wrecked with beautiful litter: lichen-crusted/ branches, broken trees.” As I read, I couldn’t help but think of the poetic form the idyll and its overarching sense of paradise, its desire to praise the rural life.
Nancy Holmes’s poems offer one caveat as part of that praise: they cannot ignore the human element, the spoiler in that idyll/ideal. This idyll-like stance holds in other poems, such as “Morning Dove,” “Swans in January” and in “Saskatoons,” where the natural world is imbued with the comparisons to the human–where “fat-ass fruit” is “piling up in the bank account” or in “Finch Feeder,” where the narrator is the dealer and the birds the drug users, “The junkies sit all day/ at the dangling syringe, shooting up black seed.”