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October 2017
Saturday October 21, 2017
A Celebration of Talonbooks at the Vancouver Writers Fest
Posted: Wednesday January 5, 2011
Cecily Nicholson

Cecily Nicholson is the administrator of the artist-run centre Gallery Gachet and has worked since 2000 in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver. She collaborates with the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and is the author of Triage (Talon, 2011) and From the Poplars (Talon, 2014), winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry.

LATEST Cecily Nicholson NEWS

August 2017 : Talon poets in Contemporary Verse 2: Convergence

January 2017 : Cecily Nicholson is the new writer in residence at SFU

July 2016 : Starting today! Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival 2016​

January 2016 : Checking in with Cecily Nicholson

April 2015 : Congratulations Cecily Nicholson, Winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize!

April 2015 : Interview with Cecily Nicholson in Room Magazine

March 2015 : From the Poplars to the B.C. Book Prizes

February 2015 : From the Poplars to the City of Roses

January 2015 : Three Talon Poets in “Canada and Beyond” Periodical

January 2015 : Our Best of 2014, According to the Year-End Lists

November 2014 : Tomorrow in Vancouver! Help Raise Legal Defence Funds for Protestors on Burnaby Mountain

November 2014 : Two New Poetry Reviews: From the Poplars & DOWNVERSE

June 2014 : Video: Talon’s Spring 2014 Poetry Launch in Vancouver

May 2014 : Meta-Talon: Launched and Loving It

April 2014 : Tonight! Spring Poetry Launch in Vancouver

April 2014 : Tonight! Spring Poetry Launch in Calgary

April 2014 : Hot Off the Presses! Thrum, God and the Indian, DOWNVERSE, and From the Poplars

April 2014 : It’s Poetry Month!

January 2014 : Browse Our Spring 2014 Catalogue!


From the Poplars

Winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (B.C. Book Prizes, 2015)


From the Poplars

From the Poplars is a compelling blend of poetic research, personal infusion, and historical subjectivity while remaining urgent and insightful. It’s a call to arms for environmental consciousness, and a text monument of loss and shame.”
– Rabble.ca

“Nicholson writes through and around Poplar Island, working from historical research, observation and an eye towards social justice, exploring what Dorothy Livesay famously called the ‘documentary poem,’ providing a kind of poetic, historical and critical portrait of the island, its people and those who have impacted upon either or both. … a long poem that does more than simply replicating information, but using that information to help shape a series of collage movements in the form of the long poem.”
– The Small Press Book Review

“[Nicholson’s] meticulous reportage allows language itself to reveal the cruel ironies and paradoxes of our place in the world.”
– Garry Thomas Morse

“In this subtle construction, Cecily Nicholson invigorates the long documentary poem. Through the investigation of the history of use and ownership of a seemingly surplus space – Poplar Island in the Fraser River in the deindustrializing area of New Westminster – Nicholson poetically points to the central social and economic contradictions of the present. Like her previous book, Triage, From the Poplars is a work of great conviction and poetic attention that activates what T.J. Demos calls ‘the force of the political in art.’”
– Jeff Derksen, author of The Vestiges and a New Westminster Secondary School graduate

“This work that is this place, British and Columbia. Oh bravery where the town of towns is un/covered, o beloved place of my youth, where injustice, where absence, where silence. With a break into language that un-settles the ideology of settlement, Cecily Nicholson flenses the historical surface: this is a writer unafraid of investigation, in whose hands juxtaposition is an art, a poet tuned enough in the ear, to create a rhythm that embodies what I call L-A-N-G-U-A/lyric. Nicholson not only extends the praxis of the line, she crafts a new subaltern blues. The pages of this book vibrate; they are the material of the genuinely new: growing up here by the Fraser, attending high school up on the hill, I’d hear about ‘what happened on the Island.’ This book illuminates. Nicholson is one of a very few poets whose skill combines tender precision with flint-like intellect, and her arrow pierces. I set out to read From the Poplars in measured fashion, taking my time. The book took hold and I could not put it down. The last section of this collection scalds with discovery: we journey to The Island, ‘under bridges between ramps across from the parking lot’ and become ephemera … This is poetry to change you, to stop you in your tracks, those that run creosote soaked, down by the river. You will say the words of this book out loud, again and again. You will get in your car, get on that bus, you will board the train and visit the town of towns, oh ghosts, that sing. And, Cecily.”
– Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections



"anything can happen in the space that Cecily Nicholson opens in triage: disasters, miracles, resistance and arpillera right before your eyes. urgent, broken, and indomitable, this book invites us to restructure our systems of perception so that we can see and acknowledge what is otherwise overlooked, devalued, deliberately forgotten. in the face of contemporary crisis, this is a poetry that is merciless in its courage and generosity, steadfast in its spaciousness and precision. this is the heart of
vancouver, beating bravely in the tent village, attesting to daily poverty, daily ingenuity, refusing to be distracted by imperial delirium."
—Rita Wong

“Triage ‘terrible mischief’ or ‘hors de combat’ po-ethics precede a city stroll shift shank into political ‘tarbaby cosmetic’ tango. so there is relentless resistant ­vision visit of ‘heartless ecology’ that ‘suck city’ is. Cecily Nicholson’s playful ­precision poetry will get you off that ‘fiscal sofa’ urbanal sprawl right into ‘morning after Vancouver’ impact passionate ‘breastbone attitude.’ right on! ‘arrest this system’!"
—Marie Annharte

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