Author submitted

Poet Jan Zwicky to share love of nature at Sidney literary festival

Hugo Wong

News staff

From Sept. 22-24, 14 Canadian authors from across the country will descend on the Mary Winspear Centre for the Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival. This is the first of three author profiles.

For poet, philosopher and essayist Jan Zwicky, the natural world is a source of joy and inspiration, but also of pain — both emotional and physical.

Outside her back door on Quadra Island is 140 acres of Crown land with trails that lead to a harbour and some old growth trees where she can see the main spine of Vancouver Island, which she calls “stunningly beautiful.”

But like many islanders, who live close to nature and grow their own food, she’s been dealing with a drought and has had to hand-water her vegetables for the past eight weeks — a long and difficult process.

“I’m often challenged for time, but I wouldn’t do it any other way,” says Zwicky. “It keeps me honest.”

Born in Mayerthorpe, Alta., Zwicky went to university in Calgary and Toronto, then taught philosophy at Princeton and the Universities of Alberta, Waterloo, New Brunswick, and Victoria before settling on Quadra Island 10 years ago with her husband, fellow poet Robert Bringhurst. However, the wilderness has always been a running theme in her work.

At this year’s Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival, Zwicky will be reading from her latest book of poetry, entitled The Long Walk. Zwicky says it reaches back to an earlier book, Songs for Relinquishing the Earth, which also deals with environmental devastation.

She says that the new book is darker in some ways given the environmental decline of the last 20 years, but has tried to include something transformative in the conclusion.

“I‘ve spent a lot of my life outdoors and learned as a child how the land speaks to us, supports us, loves us, and the fact that we as a culture are not caring enough is a great source of grief for me.”

She does political work and teaches about environmental matters, but Zwicky says that “poetry is the deep and direct expression of my love for the natural world and my concerns for it.”

This is Zwicky’s first appearance at the Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival, and Zwicky looks forward to hearing other authors read, because she says that poetry is meant to be read.

“The work has its origin in the live voice and when you speak it aloud there’s less room for interpretation and doubt about what you might have meant.”

Zwicky also looks forward to interacting with audience members, who she says “bring a very fine sort of listening.”

“Generally, I’ve found people to be generous, articulate, and intelligent. I’m always humbled when they like it.

“They often have interesting things they can tell me about connections in their own lives, and that’s always moving for me.”

For tickets and more information, visit sidneyliteraryfestival.ca

Just Posted

Oxford Dictionary responds by video to Victoria boy’s bid for levidrome

William Shatner tweet garners attention of Oxford

Car fire slows highway traffic in Central Saanich

No injuries were reported after the fire broke out in the engine compartment of a car Thursday morning.

‘Emma Fillipoff Is (still) Missing’

New podcast sheds some light on five-year-old case of missing Victoria woman

Tenant relocation plan recommended in Victoria city staff report

City to consider renter protection program Thursday

Oak Bay teacher wins 91.3 the Zone’s Teacher of the Month

French teacher at École Willows School wins custom Converse from Baggins and Big Wheel gift cards

Oak Bay teacher wins 91.3 the Zone’s Teacher of the Month

French teacher at École Willows School wins custom Converse from Baggins and Big Wheel gift cards

Costs loom as Saanich considers future of public works yard

Current conditions of the facility pose a risk to service delivery, according to a draft report

UPDATE: B.C. cat torture recorded on Snapchat, sent to owner

“I can’t stop shaking,” Haglund said. “Last night was so bad my teeth were clattering.”

Charge laid against B.C. man in cat torture

Joshua Michael Lemire, 20, has been charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal.

Site C allows more wind, solar energy, experts say

Lawyer, economist argue for completion of B.C. Hydro dam

Record-high temperatures reached in 18 spots in B.C.

White Rock, Victoria and the Fraser Valley made new records for the unusually warm November day

Supreme Court to hear case on whether ISPs can charge for IDing online pirates

Film producers seeking to crack down on people who share copyrighted material illegally

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges

Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims

Most Read