Issue 21 (2021): Rural & Remote Living

Rural Creative

Rural and quiet should not be confused with lifeless. Lack of high-profile events or line-ups outside venues does not mean lack of workshops, performances, readings, or exhibits. You just need to know where to look.

Lucky Strike

Everyone in Buchans lived in the shadow of Lucky Strike deckhead. Steely crisscrossed supports locked the legs of the towering triangular headframe in place, a Jenga of girders and I-beams atop a 700-foot mineshaft.

Siteseeing #23-28

Someone posts crocuses / on Facebook and we are out / the door and across the pasture / wind be damned, sleeping / deer too who boing boing / from slough to hilltop and turn / stunned. Are we real or some kind of nightmare?


If in the silence of the earliest / morning, before the sun cracks / across the sliding glass / of the wide Red River – If in that hour, / like a pocket, the cat quiet, curled / against the inner, ragged hem, / I laced on my running shoes....

A Pinch and a Wiggle

Shannon goes to fetch the totes full of vacuum-sealed fish and cuts them open. She admires the intense crimson of sockeye. Then she carries the two canners up from the basement, one matte-grey like the sky, one a shiny aluminum....


Burn blisters from the woodstove, / the whole of my dog’s snout, a / frost-shattered axe blade and the / fine thread between what I want / and the ditch of sky. / The fine line / between my silence and splinters / in my palm....


/ when i was small my mother used to perch up on the chesterfield in the living room / mirror asleep along the top of the cushion / the sun's blood caressing her face / bleeding through the panes while she plucks her eyebrows /

Spontaneous Combustion

Half-naked above me in autumn / the flowering crab is laden with hard little apples / the bite that I take leaves a bitter taste / in my throat, the birds will ignore them / all winter long until repeated frosts / soften them and /all else is gone....

Light of Her White Hem

Light jackknifes the Beaufort, pries open the mountain filling with snow./ From the rear of the bus; from the bottom rung; from her under-brow stare--- / the girl in dark glasses hunches over last night’s dream: / underwater hands shelling peas....

Acadian Lines

I left a light in the upstairs window. A beacon / for the driver in case the hot blue heat / blowing through rusty vents, silencing the crunch of / wheels on snow covered roads, lulled you to sleep. / I’ve pulled the rocker to the side kitchen window....

Bear with Me

The land is so ever-present, unimpeded by concrete and traffic noise, that I am compelled to express my feelings for it rather than faithfully render it. I am conscious of a settling in, a rootedness, and so my paintings have become more abstract.

Entangled in Yarn(bombs)

Like other forms of street art, it’s difficult to know the artist's intention but it's safe to assume there is an element of fun. Despite the expanded practice and broader definition, it’s still rare to spot a yarn bomb in real life. Except in Twillingate.

Behind Me, My Footprints Fill with Powder / Persephone

A mouse-gray sky dusts the hills, / softens the silhouettes of evergreens. / I walk alongside my adult daughter, / our words tiny clouds between us....


I have a second life in present-day Botwood / because grandmother was there / an icon for us to visit / the Botwood Mural Arts Society / aims to resurrect the town through art / painters from all around are invited / to create murals....

Learning Their Names: Letters from the Home Place

Tonight I write to you from inside winter, its dark stillness, from fire in the grate / made by my love who understands the appetite of fire....

This isn’t the house. / Unregulated Waste Management Facility

This isn’t the house I grew up in. / We’re both set in our ways. / I’ve walked on trails that pass uncomfortably close to trees. / I’ve walked on trails that humans don’t use....

Song for Barbie / Song for Leonard

Why do I suspect it did not / go well for you, bright light? / In our four-corner village, you / flared briefly. / If I coloured in the lines, you / barely noticed the page, / crayoning instead the windows, the skies beyond. Wild child....

Finding the Bizarre in the Mundane: On Environment and Memory

“You're brave to go in that water,” the woman said. In one hand she held a convenience-store bag of snacks and in the other a cigarette. “It didn't always look like this, though...."

Deep Pool Bridge

When Clara was eight, her mother asked her if she ought to leave her father. She did not say that Clara would go with her, though they both assumed it. “We could live in the country. The little cottage at Deep Pool Bridge.

The Nature of News

Decades ago, when I lived in the city, I met a woman who did not. Her letters schooled me in a more rural kind of news. For her, news was when the chickadees that she’d been watching for a month stood aside and let their fledglings fly....

On Being Remote (& Saying Good-Bye)

To be remote can also mean to be emotionally distant. Physical distance can offer self-protection from relational difficulties. In my high-voltage family, we needed space from each other. Yet we craved connection, too.

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