Monday, March 8, 2021

Susan Alexander

Susan Alexander is a poet living on Bowen Island, which is in Howe Sound, just north of Vancouver. In 2019 she won the prestigious Mitchell Poetry Prize for a suite of poems which has now been included in her new poetry collection Nothing You Can Carry (2020, Thistledown).

Her poems are often concerned with environmental issues, particularly those faced in Howe Sound. She said in a recent interview, “The most urgent concern I have is for the planet. I see the environmental crisis partly as an inability to delay gratification. We practice short-term thinking even though our species is skilled at long term planning. I often ruminate about who and what humans are and why we are trashing the earth, our home.” In a poem about what she refers to as “our petroleum sins” she writes,
Save us O Lord
----------from our sins of omission
---------------and consumption
---------------and commission.

Her first poetry collection The Dance Floor Tilts (2017) was also published by Thistledown. Early in her pursuit of poetry she extensively read the poetry of Anglican priests R.S. Thomas and George Herbert, and was motivated by their work.

Susan Alexander has recently had a poem included in my web journal Poems For Ephesians.

The following poem is from Nothing You Can Carry.


Because there is little frivolity
or vanity left on a shining dome ―
akin to an ostrich egg,
that holy object hung
among the votives of the orthodox
church, or perhaps,
the full moon ― his thoughts
must be more august,
his words more prophetic.

He is no statue, though the white
looks cool as marble. I write
upon that curved surface
with fingertips, fond lips.

This teaches me
to shed all the pretty things
that keep me from
the invisible world I am
moving towards.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.