Spotlight series #23: Geoffrey Nilson

rob mclennan
2 min readMar 5, 2018

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.


My manuscript-in-progress Same House New Sky constructs a day-by-day narrative in the wake of divorce and family dissolution. The speaker uses a documentary method that combines ekphrasis, journalism, and the lyric form to record domestic change as the family navigates their newly separated lives. The manuscript is indebted to the poems of Sharon Olds, especially her book Stag’s Leap, and the serial photographs of Christa Carr, from which I took my title.


warm this conversation
June 12, 2014

I’m not going to spout some sentimental
garbage like I miss you but where is the full
beam of your face, the morning safety of our

bed all sweet smoke & Dior perspiration.
here is the equation for dirty years: one
house over sky equals soap to clean

our skin of gold. god knows we arrived
with a sheen however brief where nothing
could still the habitual afterglow.

what happened. warm with conversation gone
straight, we were filthy for each other.
lousy with limbs. over our heads & good.

plain view
June 16, 2014

the only fact you know is things are going
to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
Nebraska funnel well-constructed dark

debarks whole frame houses, overturns trees
complete violent cyclic supercell. extreme
cars & other large objects. missile trains

strike small five & sixteen & others passing
east. what is it. it is all there is. some
day to die & the remained dissolve, being

quite a little of what is, but more a fragment.
metal separates like chaff, bodies tear free
the bed, all language tired & sleepless.

Little Sitkin Island
June 24, 2014

danger, danger, high water, when we walk, where we live.
sudden summer hug is tidal & alive wounded fissure.
Aleutian geological dance —

come over oblique-slip, don’t forget yourself on the way.
deep-water tectonic shake north from nearly everywhere.
plate analytic panic — minutes until cold thunder.

one-off wave noisy with old clothes. lost rhythm
rolled expectant toward a ghost. with you, I could go
the whole weekend without speaking & be happy.

Geoffrey Nilson is a writer, editor and multimedia artist living in New Westminster on the unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nation. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry is Dead, The Capilano Review, Lemon Hound, CV2, and other journals. He is the author of four chapbooks and the most recent, In my ear continuously like a stream, was published with above/ground press in 2017.