Liquidities Front Cover

Paperback / softback
ISBN: 9780889227613
Pages: 96
Pub. Date: April 15 2012
Dimensions: 9.75" x 6" x 0.25"
Rights: Available: WORLD
Drama / DRA013000

  • POETRY / Canadian
  • DRAMA / Canadian

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By Daphne Marlatt

Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now gathers many of the poems from Daphne Marlatt’s 1972 Vancouver Poems, somewhat revised or in some cases substantially revised, and follows them with “Liquidities,” a series of recent poems about Vancouver’s incessant deconstruction and reconstruction, its quick transformations both on the ground and in urban imagining.

Vancouver Poems were a young woman’s take on a young, West Coast port city as it surfaced to her gaze in the late 1960s. In these “re-visions,” it remains verbal snapshots, running associations, sounding locales and their passers-through within a shifting context of remembered history, terrain, and sensory experience. Phrases break open in successive instants of perception, moving outward to observation and inward to linguistic play. Irony shifts tonal levels and traces the effects of imported colonial culture paving over local indigenous cultures.

“Liquidities” (from liquid assets, cash): the slower, more introspective rhythms of the city some forty years ago speed up in this new series as wordplay intensifies to verbal collision. Images traffic faster, with quicker jumps through milieu and temporal strata. Forest terrain transforms to high-rise architecture. On edge, littoral, surfacing through the litter it leaves, the city’s genius wavers in and out of focus through its tidal marks of corporate progress and enduring poverty.

Short-listed 2014 ReLit Awards, poetry category

“… more recent works, read alongside the earlier ones, provide a kind of relief topography of the ways in which neo-liberal globalization and demographic shifts have transformed Vancouver … the new volume demonstrates how Marlatt’s understanding of the local has changed, and how her syntax and line, rooted in the rapid deviations and juxtapositions of the earlier work, continue to correspond to a ‘shifting context of remembered history, terrain, and sensory experience,’ as she puts it. … if Liquidities speaks to the difference within both the writer and her city, it also attests to their continuities.”
– Quill & Quire

“In addressing the current state of her city, Daphne Marlatt has renovated her 1972 Vancouver Poems. Liquidities enhances Marlatt’s incisive poetics of the “re-,“ posited earlier in the recuperative Salvage (1991), by reshaping this ongoing composition into the “then” and “now” of both city and poem. The brilliance in her restoration is to tease the “litter” from the “littoral,” posing questions at the edges of a local that is incessantly being transformed. These poems restore our amazement when the city replies: Je est un autre.”
– Fred Wah

“Everything Marlatt has published is instinct with caring, intelligence, and a feel for technical innovation.”
– Ken Adachi

“Daphne Marlatt’s startling syntax cadences each phrase of Liquidities, structures its pages and tones, and grounds its music in particulars: rain, trees, streets, cafés. Embracing her Vancouver Poems of 1972, Marlatt’s new book of water rises and reverberates with signs of how life is made and unmade by contact with the tidal lands on which the city lives. The gentle knotted threads and spacings of her lines evince a poetic that is absolutely non-hierarchical, non-dominating. Liquidities enacts the very breath of a coastal city. It captures the margins of Vancouver’s economies, the tenacity of human presence, and an ethos of respect for all life that is a heritage of its First Nations, whose values still endure. ‘Marlatt,’ Elisa Sampedrín has said, ‘is perhaps the real inventor of little theatres. Her work on water is a necessary precedent to my own.’”
– Erín Moure

Liquidities flows from one of the most deeply felt books of poetry I know, Vancouver Poems, in which each line is acutely tuned to a city of restless words, restless water, and restless ghosts. In this new work, Daphne Marlatt revisits Vancouver Poems —they’re as marvellous and rigorous and provocative as ever—and draws us into the present, acknowledging and invoking the spirit of this place and transforming the barking of conquest and commerce into a language of rage, humility, inclusion, and love. It’s an extraordinary achievement.”
– Colin Browne

“Marlatt’s lines are as fluid and lyrical as in her early work, but their embedded perspectives offer further identification by introducing monosyllables as in ‘marine ah / body of water you came wet you / [. . .] elle ll a live oh.’ These jarring sighs not only draw attention to the inadequacy of language when expressing the recollection of a memory, or disappointment, but they also emphasize habitual reactions, points of relief, comfort – and dissolution.”
Canadian Literature

“Marlatt’s language conveys a rich sensuality, a sensibility honed to a fine edge.”
– Judith Fitzgerald