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Karen Enns Reads from Dislocations

Karen Enns Reads from Dislocations

By Press Staff Date: April 13, 2023

Join us for a poetry break – courtesy of a reading by Karen Enns, from her 2023 collection Dislocations.



Massive, moss-covered firs lie across the forest floor
as if they have fallen here lightly,

made hardly a sound going down,
            hardly a sound as they landed.

In the open space beyond their grounded canopies,
absence, you could say unwooded-ness,
            a species of grief,

the light on its own there,
and the last echo of the trees going down.

A few shafts flare through, toward me
and toward the other woman who walks by on the trail.

Elusive, she says as she passes,
and I think she means the barred owls calling out
from behind the ridge, off to one side,
then the other,

always invisible, moving,
moving in the upper storeys.

            But maybe she means time,
            which can’t be right.

at the fir-beginnings, white-cut,
at eye level,

it is pure and circular.



We walk on hard ground, frost-covered, clotted,
an atlas of what’s already been.

And then there is this: the air is thin,
unknowable, not kind.

            Who can sleep?

We dream of dark, crouching birds, small
and smaller rooms, inconsistencies of meaning in the walls,

            voices, voices

                        conjugating infinite verbs.


Deft. It was deft
the way brilliance was heaped on us,

through leaves like that,

distilled, too much
            and not enough at once,

                                                every detail

charged with a pizzicato intelligence.

You could say it was blinding, but it wasn’t.

There were visions in the under-pitch,
                                    slow reverberations.


Without which the moment flattens out
and spreads, becomes the length and width

of one endless night.

                                    This one,

Rattling its tail of bristles.

Without which, meaning love,

            without love

                                    dawn will be difficult


What we know now is less disclosed
than what we knew before

We could walk on water then, couldn’t we?
Slabs of transparency,
                                    solid amazement.

Overtones of light splintered the surface
as if it were glass
                        and ringing.



Dislocations takes the reader on a lyrical journey, wrapped in the vicissitudes of seasons and weather—all while observing human and other-than-human lives. Award-winning poet Karen Enns invites us to peer, always concerned with the locations and dislocations perspective implies and creates.


Karen Enns is the author of the three previous books of poetry: Cloud Physics, winner of the Raymond Souster Award, Ordinary Hours, and That Other Beauty. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.