Arts + Culture » Literary

Swimming Ginger

Gary Geddes (Goose Lane)

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In this suite of narrative poems published by Goose Lane, award-winning British Columbia poet Gary Geddes adds a dimension (of voice) to the Qingming Shanghe Tu scroll, an expansive and highly detailed 12th-century painting thought to be produced by Zhang Zeduan of Bianliang. The painting reproduced over several middle pages in the (8” x 5.5”) book. Geddes enlivens the figures within the frame with thought, knowledge and motivation; labourers, lovers, a “seller of knick-knacks,” the storyteller who proclaims, “Bad taste proved invigourating;/vernacular was music to my ears.” In one of two long poems, “Silk River,” the painter himself discusses his commission, the inspiration he took from the streets, where officialdom is observed through weary, knowing eyes. Geddes should be thanked for always opening ours.

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