From the PoplarsFront Cover

ISBN: 9780889228566 | paperback / softback

$16.95 | 104 pages | Pub. Date: 2014
8.75 W × 5.25 H × .25 D inches
Poetry | Backlist | Bisac: POE011000
ISBN 13: 9780889228566 | Rights: WORLD

BC Book Prize, Poetry: Cecily Nicholson, From the Poplars (Winner)

In the North Arm of British Columbia’s Fraser River lies an uninhabited island. Guarded by water from the city of New Westminster’s bustling industrial and shipping district, Poplar Island is lush and unspoken, but storied. It is the traditional territory of the Qayqayt peoples. Made into property, a parcel of land belonging to the “New Westminster and Brownsville Indians,” it is the location of one of British Columbia’s first Indian Reserves.
Polar Island is a landscape marred by colonization, where Indigenous smallpox victims from the south coast were forced into quarantine, substandard care, and burial. Once their peoples were decimated and the land taken, wrangled and exchanged between levels of government the trees were clear-cut for industry, including shipbuilding during the First World War and booming anchorage for local sawmills. From the Poplars is the poetic outcome of archival research and of keeping an ear to the ground – of listening to the stories of an earth scoured by colonization, inequality, and extraction. It is a meditation on an unmarked, twenty-seven and a half acres of land held as government property: a monument to colonial plunder on the waterfront of a city built upon erasures.
From an emplaced poet and resident of New Westminster, this text contributes to present narratives on decolonization. It is an honouring of river and riparian density, and a witness to resilience. It tempers a silence that inevitably will be heard.

parcel bought and sold as the record shows stolen
quarantine and bury there the government
not taking graves into account
warships were built view down a launch ramp

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

“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

“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: ...You will say the words of this book out loud, again and again.” – Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections

By Cecily Nicholson

Cecily Nicholson, from small-town Ontario via Toronto and South Bend, relocated to the Pacific coast almost two decades ago. On Musqueam-, Squamish-, and Tsleil-Waututh-occupied lands known as Vancouver, she has worked, since 2000, in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, most recently as administrator for the artist-run centre and mental health resource, Gallery Gachet. A part of the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and a member of the Research Ethics Board for Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Cecily was also the 2017 Ellen Warren Tallman Writer in Residence at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Triage and From the Poplars, winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Read more about Cecily Nicholson


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news | 2017-01-16
Cecily Nicholson is the new writer in residence at SFU

…University. Cecily is the author of Triage and From the Poplars (both published by Talonbooks); the latter was …


news | 2016-01-13
Checking in with Cecily Nicholson

…Poet and author of the award-winning long poem From the Poplars , and other titles, when not working at the … be a writer in residence in Ontario and then BC. From the Poplars was recently the subject of a brief but poignant …


news | 2015-04-27
Congratulations Cecily Nicholson, Winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize!

…to Cecily Nicholson! Nicholson’s latest book, From the Poplars, has won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. The … a photo of Nicholson accepting the prize here.) From the Poplars is a collection of documentary poetry that … text monument of loss and shame.” Read poems from From the Poplars which were recently published in Lemon Hound. …


news | 2015-04-15
Interview with Cecily Nicholson in Room Magazine

…Cecily Nicholson, author of Triage (2011) and From The Poplars (2014). In it, Nicholson reflects on her … work? CECILY: One of the central imperatives in From The Poplars, which is deliberately understated, is the idea …


news | 2015-03-12
From the Poplars to the B.C. Book Prizes

…that Cecily Nicholson’s collection of poetry, From the Poplars , has been nominated! From the Poplars, a …


news | 2015-02-23
From the Poplars to the City of Roses

…will read from her latest collection of poetry, From the Poplars, which explores the history and socio-political …


news | 2015-01-07
Our Best of 2014, According to the Year-End Lists

…his year-end favourites list: Cecily Nicholson’s From the Poplars, Natalie Simpson’s Thrum, Nikki Reimer’s …


news | 2014-11-03
Two New Poetry Reviews: From the Poplars & DOWNVERSE

…to the clarion call within Cecily Nicholson’s From the Poplars, and Lee Norton for the Ethos Review immersed … DOWNVERSE . From the former, a highlight: From the Poplars is a compelling blend of poetic research, …


news | 2014-06-18
Video: Talon’s Spring 2014 Poetry Launch in Vancouver

…) – and four fantastic poets – Cecily Nicholson ( From the Poplars ), Catriona Strang ( Corked ), Natalie Simpson ( …


news | 2014-05-01
Meta-Talon: Launched and Loving It

…Corked, From the Poplars, DOWNVERSE, The World Afloat, and Thrum Four …