I was grateful to learn June 22 that Frontenac House, a Southern Alberta publisher specializing in poetry, will publish a new collection of my poems in April 2024. The new book is called How Can You Live Here?

Dipper in Winter. image by H.MacASKiLL

When I had finished assembling the manuscript that became Out of the Ordinary, which Harbour accepted in November 2022, I found I had a large number of poems that didn’t fit the theme of the accepted book. The approximately 60 poems of How Can You Live Here? focus largely on rural life amid southeastern BC’s Selkirk Mountains.

One section considers my sense of the mystery of the natural world, despite years of being immersed in it, working in it, learning about it. The second section groups poems reflective of the round of the seasons, while the third offers poems from the round of daily life. The fourth section presents some aspects of living through the recent pandemic in the rural, while the final section looks at how writers, no less than the countryside, are not exempt from our 21st Century dystopia.

As with Out of the Ordinary, a prose introduction to each section intends to alert the reader to the section’s theme or organizing principle. Not surprisingly in an era when people display a considerable interest in our changing environment, nearly three-quarters of the poems in How Can You Live Here? previously appeared in or have been accepted for magazines. The journals hospitable to the poems of the new collection include The Walrus, Queen’s Quarterly and Grain in Canada, and The Hudson Review, New American Writing and Poetry East in the US.