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The Salmon Shanties - A Cascadian Song Cycle

The Salmon Shanties

A Cascadian Song Cycle

Paperback : 9781779400154, 208 pages, September 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-09-10


Harold Rhenisch’s poems balance the settler and Indigenous experiences of land and water in the Pacific Northwest

A collection of shanties (songs) laid out in couplets that move between English and Chinook Wawa, The Salmon Shanties celebrates a poetic tradition deeply rooted on the West Coast. Harold Rhenisch explores memories of people, place, and of returning home, speaking the land’s names as a music of its own and creating a series of aural maps.

Imbued with rhythms of Secwepemc grass dances, the colloquial chatter of the Canadian poet Al Purdy, and the voice of poet and historian Charles Lillard, Rhenisch’s work sings of roots to the land lifted up by the sea into the sky—as if Ezra Pound had sung of Cascadia instead of Europe.

Do not be in Mareuil and Périgeux tonight; it is 1912 no longer.
We, the land’s singers, are walking the star road on the long way home
with the crickets of a July evening above Tuc el Nuit,
the burrowing owls of N’kmp,
and the long memories of the dwarf shrews of Nighthawk.
Breath cannot be denied. Poh cannot be forsaken. Ezra, shantie./p.


“Harold Rhenisch is one of Canada’s finest poets.”—Nancy Holmes