news | Wednesday March 20, 2019
We are so pleased to announce that Rita Wong and Fred Wah’s beholden: a poem as long as the river has been shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. beholden joins several wonderful books on this year’s list of BC Book Prize finalists, including Our Familiar Hunger by Laisha Rosnau, Port of Being by Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quarrels by Eve Joseph, and _The Small Way_by Onjana Yawnghwe in the poetry category.
beholden: a poem as long as the river stems from the interdisciplinary artistic research project “River Relations: A Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River,” undertaken as a response to the damming and development of the Columbia River in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, as well as to the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Authors Fred Wah and Rita Wong spent time exploring various stretches of the river, all the way to its mouth near Astoria, Oregon. They then spent several months creating long poems along the Columbia, each searching for a language that evoked the complexities of our colonial appropriation of it. beholden was then assembled as a page-turning book that reproduces the two long poems as they respond to the meanderings of the river flowing two thousand kilometres through Canada, the United States, and the territories and reserves of Indigenous Peoples. Visual artist Nick Conbere then transferred this winding footprint into a monumental, 114-foot horizontal banner.
Visit the BC Book Prize website for more information about the finalists.