FROM THE PRAIRIES TO THE PACIFIC RIM:
a poetic exchange & artist conversation
Poet-writers Rita Wong, Emily Riddle, Sacha Ouellet, and Erica Hiroko Isomura trace their respective ancestries, activism, and creative endeavours from amiskwaciwâskahikan in the Prairies, across the Rockies, and into the Salish Sea.
This is a process-based audio piece, created from a series of poetic exchanges and artist conversations recorded during June and July 2021. In response to the climate crisis, this project hopes to connect listeners with the spirit of language, land, water, and, ultimately, one another.
Featured poetry includes "night walk" and "holders" by Rita Wong from undercurrent (Nightwood Editions, 2015), "Sohkeciwan Maka” by Emily Riddle, "fireweed shakes" by Sacha Ouellet, and "mourning song" by Erica Hiroko Isomura.
Poet-scholar RITA WONG lives and works on unceded Coast Salish territories, also known as Vancouver. Dedicated to questions of water justice, decolonization, and ecology, she is the author of monkey-puzzle, forage, sybil unrest (with Larissa Lai), undercurrent, perpetual (with Cindy Mochizuki), and beholden (with Fred Wah), as well as the co-editor of downstream: reimagining water (with Dorothy Christian). See https://1308trees.ca/ for what she has recently been working on.
EMILY RIDDLE is nehiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation in Treaty 6. She lives in amiskwaciwâskahikan. A writer, public library worker and researcher, she sits on the board of advisers for the Yellowhead Institute, a First Nations-led think tank. Emily was shortlisted for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize and selected for the 2021 Writers’ Trust of Canada mentorship program. Her first chapbook is forthcoming with Glass House Press.
SACHA OUELLET is an urban Indigenous Haida visual artist, writer and activist driven by community, resistance, self-determination, and human rights advocacy. She was the past Indigenous news director and radio host of Coastal Voices at CFUV 101.9 in Victoria, BC, which received an honourable mention for Outstanding Achievements from the NCRA Community Radio Awards.
ERICA HIROKO ISOMURA is a yonsei Japanese and Chinese Canadian writer who lives on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səlilwətaɬ, and qiqéyt territories. Selected as the recipient of Room magazine's 2021 Emerging Writer Award and past winner of Briarpatch’s Writing In The Margins contest, her work appears in Canadian literary mags, zines, and on the internet. Isomura is currently at work on a collection of essays and poetry.
Produced and edited by Erica Isomura
Featured audio recorded on location by Sacha Ouellet and Erica Isomura at the Wedzin kwa, Kwekwecnewtxw (Coast Salish Watch House), Holmes Creek, Brunette River, Burnaby Lake, and skʷƛ̓əma:ɬ stál̕əw̓.
Graphic art by Sacha Ouellet
Created with financial and in-kind support from the Powell Street Festival Society, Province of BC Multiculturalism program, Canada Council, and VIVO Media Arts Centre.