Welcome to “The Poet’s Point of View,” a new series for The Anansi Poetry Project where we ask our 2019 poets to recommend art, writing, music, and more to experience in tandem with their new collections.
First up is Karen Solie, author of The Caiplie Caves. Karen Solie has written four previous collections of poetry: Short Haul Engine, Modern and Normal, Pigeon, and The Road In Is Not The Same Road Out. An associate director for the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio program, she edits and teaches and has served as writer-in-residence for universities across Canada and in Scotland. She lives in Toronto.
Her new book, The Caiplie Caves, attends to transition in times of crisis. In the seventh century, on the coast of Fife, Scotland, an Irish missionary named Ethernan withdrew to a cave in order to decide whether to establish a priory on May Island, directly opposite, in the Firth of Forth, or pursue a hermit’s solitude. His decision would have been informed by the realities of war, religious colonization, and ideas of progress, power, and corruption, and complicated by personal interest, grief, confusion, and a faith (religious and secular) under extreme duress.
Around passages informed by Ethernan’s story are poems that orbit the geographical location of the caves but that range through the ages, addressing violence, power, work, economies, self-delusion, and belief.
While reading your new collection of poetry, what would you recommend as . . .
One song or album to listen to: “4'33''”. John Cage.
One film to watch: A Serious Man. Joel and Ethan Coen.
One meal to eat: Nettles.
One piece of art to look at: The Sea/Ocean Water, 1960. Agnes Martin.
One place to plan to visit: Where your best thinking happens.
One quotation to read from another writer: “I walked into a paragraph a long time ago and never emerged from it.” Dionne Brand, from The Blue Clerk.
One question to ask yourself or a friend: A difficult one.