Island Pieces is a collection of short prose, poetry, and photography that recalls summers spent on Manitoulin Island. It describes a landscape “where life clings to a skiff of earth that hardly covers the shield rock, and where living things are afterthoughts to stone and water and sky.” Each piece in the collection returns to this northern landscape, exploring what the Island has become in the writer’s memory over the years.
Oh glory of sun-haloed chaff hanging in newly birthed silence, offspring of the bale-elevator’s clamor — clig-clig-clig, clig-clig-clig, clang, clig-clig-clig, clig-clig-clig, clang — interminable, and the engine chanting beneath it all, a noise gestated in the warm closeness of the mow, in its uterine murk, growing as the hay bales rise, one atop the other, first this way then that, filling the womb of the mow, distending it, and the noise — clig-clig-clig, clig-clig-clig, clang, clig-clig-clig, clig-clig-clig, clang — concentrated with the chaff and the heat, throwing itself into the mow like seed into a womb, interminable, until the moment, oh glory of sun-haloed chaff hanging in the doorway of the afternoon, when the long labour is ended and silence lies in the mess of its afterbirth. The breeze, so slight, eddies there in the doorway, with the haloes and the silence, where I am standing. It is too weak even to move the dust of the air, only loiters at the threshold, running over the skin of things, delicately, cautiously, intimately, like blind fingers on an unfamiliar face. It is hiding itself between the heat of the mow and the heat of the sun, in the sliver of shadow that the barn is beginning to cast into the yard, where I am hiding too, on the threshold of the mow, my arms raised to rest against the top jamb of the broad door, leaning out into the yard, like the shadows and like the breeze, attendants at the birth of this sudden quiet, this completion, this expectancy, this waiting for what will come to fill the unforeseen emptiness of an afternoon.
“I love these stories.”
“Intriguing, unsettling in a way, but beautiful.”
“This is definitely the book of a poet… a breathtaking reading… a continuous song.”