Tar Songs – Laurelyn Whitt

Two of Laurelyn Whitt’s Tar Songs appear in Prism 53:2 (Winter 2015). They portray the reality of the tar sands well: “a hydrocarbon concerto … [that] has already swamped the orchestra … [in its] final / well-attended / performance / visible from space.” And I know the fox of the second poem. I have seen her sitting on the shoulder of a northern highway: “Eyes avid, brush tucked. / Every now and then, drivers toss / a bit of sandwich to the tiny form / below, as she darts in / to scarf it up. They make bets / as to who will be the first / to crush her.”

Ian Willms, from "As Long as the Sun Shines," Alberta Oil Sands, 2010-12 (Courtesy: Ian Willms)

Ian Willms, from “As Long as the Sun Shines,” Alberta Oil Sands, 2010-12 (Courtesy: Ian Willms)

Whitt is a member of the faculty of the Department of Native Studies, in the Faculty of Arts at Brandon University. Her fourth book of poetry, Tether, published by Seraphim Editions, won the 2013 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry, for the best full-length book of poetry, in either French or English, published in the province of Manitoba. Her Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples: The Cultural Politics of Law and Knowledge was published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press.

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