Works in Progress

The Art of Haying








A journey into the art of the line, as practiced in the fields of Iceland, and its relationship to the art of reading. Humans, trolls, and the nature of humans, read and reading, on the land. 180 pages, with numerous photographs from Canada, Iceland, and Germany.

The King’s Way












In the path of Goethe on the Pilgrimage Road to Minsk. A travel narrative, following the path of the poet Goethe through Eastern Germany, the rise of Nationalism, and its consequences for today and the future, all written as the third part of Goethe’s Faust.

Return to the Interior & Atomic Okanagan

Inglewood, in the Similkameen Valley


Two social-historical-environmental studies of the volcanic landscapes of British Columbia and Washington. From the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on the Columbia River to the Bella Vista Hills of Vernon and the salmon of Okanagan Falls, these projects reimagine the land to build a land-based energy culture for the future, as inspired by the land sense of that other volcanic land, Iceland.

The Faust Book


The tricksters are back. From the drowning mountains above Salzburg, infested by devils, to the castle of the Archbishop and the court of Mad King Ludwig, to the gold mines of the Cariboo and Judge Mathew Bailie Begbie, this is a book of transformations, oppression, and a fight for freedom, told in a joyful style, that led directly to Free Will.

A Poet in British British Columbia


A poet’s journey, a Malte Laurid’s Brigge for our time. This is my first non-fiction book focussing on the art I love, rather than the land and people I, yes, love.

Ranging from the poetry wars of the 1970s to the Vancouver Folk Festival in 1984, from new interpretations of Rilke and Celan, explorations of Shakespeare’s dabbling in alchemy, the tarot, Ezra Pound, Pat Lane, Charles Lillard, Al Purdy, J.M. Yates, this book presents a theory of poetry of the last two generations as a Cold War struggle lying at the heart of an understanding of our time. This is a personal book, though — lyrical and centred in people and place. As I’ve toured the province reading and teaching poetry, time and again I have come across writers who are still shell-shocked, twenty-five years later, from writing classes they took in B.C.’s poetry wars. This book is for them.

Letters for a Young Poet


Eunoia for lovers.Christian Bök’s Eunoia was a publishing sensation: 5 chapters, one for each vowel, with the limitation that the words in each chapter could contain only the vowel represented by that chapter. Well, that’s the diving board. Here are the consonants, bravely advising young poets led into romance by Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, in a series of midnight trysts in baroque gardens, formal dances with Anna Karenina, and sonorous exuberance. These are poems to be read aloud.

Lost Works


Two lost manuscripts of open field verse lost in the creation of A Delicate Fire, returned after fifteen years. Fifteen years of immersion in William Carlos’ Williams Pictures from Brueghel inspired me to lay down my poems as scripts for the spoken voice. The result was an open, colloquial style which led to all my books after 1985, and which was suppressed by an editor. When I received the manuscripts back, mildewed, and sealed in a rusty metal box, in 2000, I realized that that editor had been wrong. These poems lift off of the page.

The Anatomy of a Play


The story of a crazy experiment in community theatre. While the armed standoff was going down at Gustafson Lake, a bunch of us living in 100 Mile House got together to start a community theatre. I wanted to do Romeo and Juliet as a conflict between the RCMP and the Secwepemc. Others wanted to do a murder mystery, or maybe some dinner theatre. What we got instead was a performance of an epic creation story from the Ainu People of Hokkaido, set against the bombing of Hiroshima, which included miners’ lamps, old computers scrolling in green glow, multi-track taped recordings, and Ainu chants, in one crazed performance in an old dormitory painted black and full of pillars. Here is the story of a community off the grid, told with affection.

Dear Will


Cynical, naive, caustic, wild, Shakespeare’s boy tells his story from the modelling studios, stages, and back streets. Shakespeare’s sonnets were intended to make him and his lovers live forever.They have the haunting subtext of a love affair with a young boy. In Living Will, I freed Shakespeare from the cage of the poems, so he could live again. In Dear Will I complete the circle. Here the boy lives, dwarfing Shakespeare in his appetite for life.

The Rilke Project


The Rilke Project is a series of approaches to translating Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies in a way that accurately represents the polyphonous and mercurial voice of the poet.



1 thought on “Works in Progress

  1. In memoriam ( in remembrance / in memory of) Rainer Maria Rilke and the Indian summer of Canada
    The leaves are falling – like from far away – as wilted heavens in the distant gardens .
    Many greetings from Austria to Canada.

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