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Posted: Monday August 26, 2013
Catriona Strang

A founding member of the Institute for Domestic Research, and former member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, Catriona Strang is the author of Low Fancy and co-author with the late Nancy Shaw of Busted, Cold Trip, and Light Sweet Crude. Her collection of poetic responses to Proust, Corked, was published in 2014. She frequently collaborates with composer Jacqueline Leggatt and clarinetist François Houle. She lives in Vancouver, where she and her two kids are active in the local home learning community.

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Reveries of a Solitary Biker

“The poems in Strang’s Reveries move through meditation, and the sections appear to be structured as much around rhythm as content … Part of what appeals about her structure is in understanding, even from her perspective, how seemingly arbitrary the order of the poems actually is, opening up to the possibility of performing or reading in an entirely different sequence …”
—rob mclennan



“In Catriona Strang’s poetry, the domestic sphere is comfortably private (spherically shaped) only because a globalized technological continuum of warfare and manufacture makes it so. Corked multiplies such contradictions. First-person pronouns are plural to their rhetorical core. Memory’s a possession to be rid of. Captain Picard, you and your Château Picard are put on notice: To explore the continuum, Corked turns domestic space into a foreign planetary body, and language into a Curiosity rover. Corked touches down through vast internal distances to find a spring of our condition – as seen from here, ‘the Strang terrain’ – in Marcel Proust. The super-fine instrumentation of these poems sends back big data on the intonational and rhythmical contours of intimacy undertaking to live in a continuous (relentless) present tense. Live it.”
– Louis Cabri

"One may be compelled by ‘Corked ‘ toward non-meanings, but not toward whatever-meanings. Meaning in this work results from an accumulation: of repititions, of contradictions, contraints, and intrusions, as in Proust. But there is no ambiguity."
Capilano Review

"The title piece, by contrast, juxtaposes letters to Marcel Proust with “tempered fragments”—individual poems with jags and glitches that represent “shaky transitory moments external to capital’s seemingly omnipotent pulse.” While these poems inevitably engage the Proustian theme of memory’s precariousness, they work hardest to advocate for the “unprofitable” and “unproductive” work of domestic life—the “weight women carry daily.”– Canadian Literature

“In Corked, Catriona Strang has written a miraculous book that is a poetic, political and affective constellation that recalibrates how a poem might work today as a representation of a moment that is both precarious and self-assured, contradictory and confident. Yet, along with its consideration of this ‘immobilized’ present, there is a compelling historical depth to this book built through an address to Marcel Proust. Strang uses the engagement with Proust as a ‘coincidental hook’ to make a powerful poetic report on ‘the current situation’ by looping it through other historical contexts. Strang lays out, carefully weighed syllable by radiant word, a terrain in which gendered and unpaid labour, resource extraction, off-shoring, and the calculation of value are counted and countered with recurrent struggles. From her early work, TEM and Low Fancy, through her collaboration with the late Nancy Shaw, with Corked Strang solidifies a unique position in Canadian poetry.”
– Jeff Derksen


The Gorge

“Part of what becomes immediately clear about going through the work in this volume is how fresh the pieces remain, presenting both a critical eye and a lively sense of language, meaning and sound, still able to remind one just what might be possible in writing. Even for those of us who might already have copies of all her trade collections, such a selected, especially with previously unpublished and uncollected works included, allows for such a wonderful opportunity to revisit the work of an author one might not have looked through in some time; and, too, to mourn such a significant loss.”
—rob mclennan’s blog

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