Nelson poet releases second collection

Jane Byers will hold launch at Nelson Public Library on Oct. 6.

Nelson poet Jane Byers has written a poetry collection exploring the history of the LGBT community.

Last time Jane Byers launched a poetry collection at the library it was a packed house, and this time around they’re expecting more of the same.

“Jane has a healthy following that goes well beyond the local,” said organizer Anne DeGrace. “Readers have been waiting for this volume with anticipation.”

In Steeling Effects, Byers’ first poetry collection published in 2014, the Nelson poet explored her experience with resilience in the face of personal challenges.

In the poems in Acquired Community she investigates seminal moments in North American lesbian and gay history, and reflects on her own coming out experience in the context that larger picture.

“That’s what came to me about two-thirds of the way through writing this book, is I’ve gone from writing about individual resilience to a community’s resilience,” she previously told the Star. Byers said when she was younger she was too self-absorbed to realize the significance of the AIDS epidemic going around her.

“My experience at that point is I was realizing I was a lesbian and all that goes with that, and it was fairly self-consuming. What will people think? Will I be tossed out of my family? I was writing some personal poems about that time, and this project grew from there.”

Overall, Acquired Community examines and celebrates community resilience.

“You can’t compare people’s pain, but I always wonder why some of us bounce back after adverse things come our way, and others don’t. Why am I all right? Why am I functional? I think that strength comes not so much from hardening, but from being more flexible, pliable, able to adapt,” Byers said.

“This is the history you didn’t learn at school. These poems are based on stories that are rich with grace and humour in the face of oppression.”

The book features such historical figures as outspoken homosexuality opponent Anita Bryant at one end of the spectrum, and gay academic Michael Lynch (who died of AIDS in 1992) on the other.

“He had an enormous influence. He started the AIDS community in Toronto and we started three or four of the main organizations doing that sort of work.

“It’s amazing how people did amazing things in such super short lives, because many were dying in their early 30s.”

Byers has had poems, essays and short fiction published in a number of books and literary magazines in Canada, the US, and the UK, including Grain, Descant, the Antigonish Review, the Canadian Journal of Hockey Literature, Poetry in Transit and Best Canadian Poetry 2014.

She is a recipient of the Richard Carver Award for Emerging Writers.

The reading will be at the Nelson Public Library on October 6 at 7 p.m.

 

Just Posted

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Nelson’s mural festival: scenes from opening night

Crowds wandered the streets and alleys finding delightful surprises in unlikely places

Smoky skies force flight cancellations

Air quality in West Kootenay also a health concern

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Columbia River Treaty negotiators met in Nelson this week

Next session is in Portland in October

First responders, police march in funeral procession for Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

Safeway union urges rejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Most Read