Spotlight series #73 : Julian Day

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

STATEMENT

I grew up in Saskatoon and have spent most of my adult life in Winnipeg. Despite having spent a significant part of my life existing in that stateless, nebulous place we term the online, I consider myself a prairie poet from the same tradition as Kroetsch, Cooley, Szumigalski, and others. This wasn’t initially a conscious decision, but something that has revealed itself through my writing: I try to make sense of who I am, and where I am, through all the places I’ve been.

I’ve been writing for a long time, though sometimes with very long breaks, and lately my work seems focused on questions of memory, belonging, grief, and loss. These two poems are from a manuscript I intend to start submitting later this year.

TWO POEMS

New Year’s Day: Sage Creek, 2021

As the old hymn goes, snow on snow,
the tall grass straining towards the sky.
Around us the landscape swells
and contracts: a heartbeat? Or only
breathing? Something out there
sings to us. Two lines of hydro towers:
pairs of giants shouldering the sun.

Pilgrim

Tell me why
you keep coming back

to what
you’ll never be –

pious, or adoring,
that sense

of wonder lost
so long ago

you can’t
remember

the last time
you ever gave

yourself
over completely.

This is a place
of ghosts

and no
good names –

four empty walls
open to heaven –

where all your wants
transmute to wood,

to rows of pews
you polish

till they
shine.

Julian Day lives in Winnipeg. His work has most recently appeared in Banshee, Riddle Fence, and Dusie, and his debut chapbook is Late Summer Flowers (Anstruther Press, 2021).

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