Dissertation Work at Elk Island: A Poem

Recently I have gotten back to writing poetry. I hadn’t written poems in a while (read, years) and I had forgotten how wonderful of a place a poem is to pour your soul out. Writing poetry has always been a very personal process to me. It allows me to descend into my depths often finding unexpected darkness, and resurfacing brighter than before. Since poetry is so deeply personal, it often takes me a long time to get comfortable with sharing a specific poem, and many never even make their way out into the world beyond my poetry notebook.

As I have been reading a lot of Indigenous poetry the last few weeks, I feel inspired. I wake up with little blurbs of verse in mind – which I hurry to scribble down; staring out onto Astotin Lake or the North Saskatchewan river, lines of poetry start to flow in me; and as I read these amazing compositions by Indigenous women*, I’m often invoked to switch between reading their work and writing my own.

I have had periods where the amounts of reading and writing for school were so overwhelming that it beat out any desire to read – or worse, write – anything for pleasure. I am very content and excited that I am not in a period like that. Even better, it is an amazing feeling when your research makes your creative juices flow, when research and creation intertwine seamlessly.

Also, poetry can make even dissertation work sound great, so here goes.

Dissertation Work at Elk Island

My camera
in the wind

still moments
of quiet

while the waves
the birds the trees 
grow louder shape my reading

and the images
the poems the languages
of the land
call me forge new reflections.

- Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park, September 14, 2021

*I’ll share some reading suggestions in a future post!

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