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Friday June 16, 2017 in Books
In 1776, at the age of sixty-four, an embittered Jean-Jacques Rousseau took to rambling. Feeling rejected, neglected, and condemned, he turned his back on the society in which he had never managed to feel at ease and found peace in wandering the fields outside Paris, noting interesting flora and fauna, and ruminating on his life and career. Rousseau jotted down his musings on playing cards he carried in his pocket; these notes would form the basis for his last book, Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire, translated as Reveries of the Solitary Walker (or A Solitary Walker). Unfinished at his death and published posthumously in 1782, the Reveries reiterate and meditate upon many of Rousseau’s central themes: the joys of solitude, the corrupting influence of society, the fragility of happiness and of human relations, and the great, healing solace of nature (not to mention his obsession with enemies and persecution).
Like Rousseau, Strang too has taken to wandering, although on her bicycle, finding cycling particularly conducive to a slow, non-deliberate thinking, an almost subconscious contemplation. Biking around Vancouver, she returned to several issues of lifelong interest, her own version of Rousseau’s obsessions: the difficulties of living an anti-capitalist life, the continued invisibility of much of women’s labour, the paradoxes of daily life, the nature and implications of calculations of value, and the complexities of sustainability. What is to be done, she wonders?
In homage to the playing-card origins of Rousseau’s Reveries, Strang’s Reveries of a Solitary Biker is divided into four suits, which she often performs with musical accompaniment by her frequent collaborator, clarinetist François Houle.
ISBN 13: 9781772011807 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 9 H inches | 96 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Poetry | Frontlist
QUOTES OF NOTE
“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 …”
About the ContributorsCatriona 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 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.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.