In her latest book of poetry, Janet Vickers searches for ways to access creative power and challenge the status quo.
“It’s an interjection of ideas and feelings to sort of remind us, or remind me particularly, that the future is not already spoken for,” the Gabriola Island-based poet said. “That we’ve got some things that we could and should do.”
Vickers said Sleep With Me: Lullaby for an Anxious Planet has been in works for “a few decades,” but features recent poems that respond to the contemporary world situation. She said she’s been concerned about the rise of fascism and intolerance and says new ways of thinking are needed.
“I think that once you break away from the mainstream news, once you sort of start looking at other books, other ideas, other philosophies, you can start to find a place in the world,” she said. “For me it’s finding my place in this world while I’m here.”
Vickers said she takes a “kitchen sink approach” to taking on different ideas and challenging them. In her work she hopes to also comfort readers in a way that is not “syrupy,” but hints at possibility.
“I guess one thing is our tendency to label and our tendency to think about who’s right and who’s wrong and to worry about not being experts,” she said. “To find the life that makes us the expert of our own life and yet to still be open to new ideas, to keep the conversation going. Talking about the world as if we’re part of it and we’re integral to it.”
Vickers, who is 71, said she was also motivated to write Sleep With Me because discussing issues that matter to her is what sustains her and she wants to continue that dialogue for as long as she is able.
“I thought, as I’m getting older, this might be the last thing that I write,” she said. “And I really feel alive when I speak with people about world events and hear their personal ideas and can contribute. So conversations about peace and justice, these are things that keep me alive.”
Sleep With Me: Lullaby for an Anxious Planet, is available online.