No. 253 (Autumn 2012)
Home is where the heart is, but heart is often tied to a place where fond memories are created. Ross Leckie, editor of The Fiddlehead at the time, reveals the importance of place in the editorial opening of the West Coast issue: “writers in Canada think deeply about how we imagine home, environment, place and space.” He emphasizes how place, although not always important to readers, is often important to writers. It is a part of a writer’s identity and often, consciously, or unconsciously, seeps into their writing. The Fiddlehead and The Malahat Review, founded on opposite coasts, are two widely renowned Canadian literary magazines. In Autumn 2012, they collaborated on a project focusing on Canadian writers. This issue of The Fiddlehead displays West Coast writing at its finest, just as the twin issue of The Malahat Review presents the best of East Coast writers. The goal of this collaboration was to give subscribers of The Fiddlehead the opportunity to experience West Coast writing, creating a diverse collection found in one space. It allows readers to learn more about the communities and locations, doing so through the eyes of those who’ve lived there.
The issue features prominent West Coast writers. George Bowering, Canada’s first parliamentary poet, contemplates the progression of the world and death in two short poems. Canada’s proud unofficial national sport is referenced in “Birdwatching During the Playoffs” by Bren Simmers and “Geoffrey Hill at Duck Mountain” by Tim Lilburn. At the time, Bren Simmers worked as a park interpreter in Vancouver and was awarded the Arc Poem of the Year Award, and Tim Lilburn was a professor at the University of Victoria and had written a book entitled Assiniboia. Vanessa Li, born and raised in Vancouver, was in the process of publishing a memoir on her “wickedly outrageous Chinese family” at the time the issue was published. She highlights a local spot in BC in her short story “Wreck Beach,” shifting from the description of place to plot and bridging the gap between both.
The cover is an acrylic painting painted by west coast artist Nathan Birch. He was born in the US but moved to Canada early on in his life. He has devoted much of his artwork to landscape paintings, illustrating different places he’s lived. This specific painting depicts Drumbeg Park, located on Gabriola Island in British Columbia. Birch captures one of the many beautifully preserved landscapes that can be visited on the west coast.
Intern, December 2021
5 Ross Leckie: The West Coast Issue
7 Linda Svensen: Restoration
26 Lorna Jackson: Not So Fast
53 Eden Robinson: Northern Lights
66 Cynthia Flood: Such Language
87 Bill Gaston: Cake's Chicken
107 Vanessa Li: Wreck Beach
13 Matt Rader: Two Poems
15 Steve Noyes: Two Poems
18 Catherine Greenwood: Two Poems
22 Peter Norman: Two Poems
42 Lorna Crozier: Four Poems
46 Patrick Lane: Three Poems
49 George Bowering: Two Poems
51 Kevin McNeilly: Slug F**k, Remembering Ted Hughes in Vancouver 1986
52 Jay Ruzesky: Swimming the Pacific
55 Lisa Robertson: Toxins
76 Elise Partridge: Seek and . . .
77 Aislinn Hunter: Two Poems
80 Donna Kane: Two Poems
82 Bren Simmers: Two Poems
84 Jane Munro: Two Poems
86 Gillian Wigmore: song for february
98 Patrick Friesen: Two Poems
101 Jan Zwicky: Three Poems
104 Tim Lilburn: Three Poems
121 Shane Rhodes: Tim Lilburn: A Poetics of Decolonization
127 Ross Leckie: The Poetics of Everyday Life
The Collected Poems, Patrick Lane
132 Notes on Contributors
Dusk at Drumbeg Park (detail)
Acrylic on Canvas
40 x 32 in.
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