Hornby Island poet Cornelia Hoogland will read from her latest book at The Buzz Coffee House on March 7. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Armstrong)

Hornby Island poet Cornelia Hoogland will read from her latest book at The Buzz Coffee House on March 7. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Armstrong)

Poet will read from her Trailer Park Elegy at Nanaimo café

Hornby Island’s Cornelia Hoogland will read from her latest book, a long poem

Hornby Island poet Cornelia Hoogland will at Nanaimo’s Buzz Coffee House on March 7 to read from her latest book, a long poem called Trailer Park Elegy.

Hoogland started writing the book shortly after her brother William died when the vehicle he was driving slipped on black ice coming home from work on a construction site in northern B.C.

Hoogland said writing the long poem, a kind of book-length poem, was an effort to bring together her “fragmentary, disassociative experience of grief.”

“The thing about the long poem is that it tracks a person’s mind,” she explained. “We don’t think in straightforward, mathematical equations, we think in loops and recurrences and in daydreams… Poetry’s really interested in tracking that, in saying, ‘Where does my mind go when it hits this word or when it has this experience?’”

While Trailer Park Elegy was written in response to William’s death and reflects on Hoogland’s relationship with her brother, its scope widens as it follows her thoughts. She said, “Death leads a person to think about the extremes of our experience.”

“I went as far as the outer limits, the event horizon in outer space and just tried to think about death in relation to the deepest mysteries both of outer space and the ocean,” Hoogland said.

When Hoogland got started she discussed the project with her family and William’s widow and sought their approval to proceed with the manuscript. But at first she had difficulty thinking of what to write.

“Whenever you try to think about someone really close to you, it’s really hard to land on anything but real stereotypical family stories,” she said. “If you try to think of your sibling you’d have some things to say but nothing very poetic, I bet. And it was the same for me, so it took me a long time to just start to allow a different sensibility in.”

In writing the book, Hoogland said she grew to have a greater admiration for William and a greater understanding of his struggles. She also misses him more and said the book was a way of keeping him alive.

“This book was really the only relationship I could have with him. He was gone and so the only thing I could do was recreate him and recreate my memories and recreate part of our relationship. So that was the book. That was the conversation I could have,” Hoogland said. “I do say in the book, ‘Lookit, brother, this is a two-way street. I’m here, now you find me.’ I don’t know if he has.”

WHAT’S ON … Cornelia Hoogland reading at The Buzz Coffee House, 1861 Dufferin Cres., on March 7 at 7:30 p.m.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help them find a 16-year-old who has been missing since Sunday. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: 16-year-old Nanaimo boy located safe

Teen had been reported missing last week and it was thought he may have left town

The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to make its operations more efficient as it works on long-term goals around carbon-neutrality. (PQB News file photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo works to become carbon neutral by 2032

RDN committee of the whole members endorse plan developed by consultant

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

Protesters gather along the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo last month as part of an event called Worth More Standing. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: B.C. hasn’t managed forests properly

Protesters opposing logging in Fairy Creek speak for many British Columbians, say letter writers

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

The Nanaimo Clippers are seeking assistance in raising money for Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. Texting NANKIDS to 41010 will see a $10 donation to the food bank. (Submitted photo)
Nanaimo Clippers look to assist food bank with fundraising goal

People can text-to-donate to support Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

Most Read