VAIRA, Ursula




Author Tags: Fiction, Poetry

Before founding the publishing company Leaf Press in 2001, Ursula Vaira worked at Oolichan Books for ten years. Her first book, And See What Happens (Caitlin, 2011) is a collection of three poetic stories about the west coast of Canada. The first story is based on her thirty-day paddle from Hazelton to Victoria to raise awareness about the government's treatment of First Nations in residential schools.

BOOKS:

And See What Happens (Caitlin, 2011) 978-1-894759-58-8 $16.95

[BCBW 2011]

And See What Happens: The Journey Poems by Ursula Vaira (Caitlin $16.95)
Review


from Hannah Main-Van-Der-Kamp

In her first book of poems, Ursula Vaira recounts the story of three hazardous trips. And like all good journeys, ends each one a different person than she was at the beginning.
The first and most extraordinary of the three personal journeys described in Ursula Vaira’s And See What Happens: The Journey Poems is a 30-day, 1000-mile paddling expedition in a First Nations canoe from Hazelton to Victoria. Vaira was the only woman to take part.

Challenges are huge and readers need a steady heart. Along the way we encounter the sadness of a culture nearly destroyed and are reminded of a time when indigenous singing and dancing was punishable by imprisonment.
Engaging titles for the poems include “How Many Embraces can a Humble Man Endure?” and “Cape Caution and the Spiritual Canoe.” It’s a remarkable narrative that downplays her gender in favour of serving as a documentarian for all.

The second adventure is one of solo living in an isolated cabin in northern B.C. In 17 ten-line ghazals, Vaira enters deeply into solitude to discover not loneliness but big questions about the nature of love.

The last section describes kayaking around Cape Scott from Port Hardy to Zeballos in rough conditions. This is one plucky poet. Tuck this small volume into your watercraft or solo backpack. The hints about danger and safety are not just about weather and geography. Fresh cougar tracks also turn up in metaphysical travels. 978-1-894759-58-8

[BCBW 2011]