A "self-educated lan(d)guage poet," Ken Belford was born in 1946 to a farming family in Debolt, Alberta and he grew up in East Vancouver. He was one of Talonbooks' first authors, publishing Fire Weed (Talon, 1967) and The Post Electric Caveman (Talon, 1970). In the late Sixties he moved to the Smithers area where he homesteaded with his wife Alice Williams. For 35 years he operated a guiding/outfitting, ecotourism business that specialized in wilderness excursions based at Blackwater Lake in the Nass watershed while he lived in the unroaded Nass River headwaters at Damdochax Lake. In addition to more than a dozen chapbooks, Belford has also published Pathways Into the Mountains (Caitlin, 2000 $14.95), and ecologue (Harbour, 2005 $16.95).

Of his third book, Pathways into the Mountains, Gary Geddes wrote, "Like Milton Acorn's, Belford's poems about being in and out of work, or in and out of place, combine intelligence and an awkward, almost lumbering grace." His fourth collection of poetry, Ecologue, is a culmination of his efforts to "reconcile land and language."

Remarried, Belford moved to Prince George where he lived with his partner Si Transken. Near the outset of his fifth collection, dedicated to Si, he writes, "Today I went back and deleted my old love poems, and kept my past and present separate, between the knower and the known." With his seventh collection, Decompositions, Belford continued to place himself outside and beyond what he calls the "tribal schools" of poetry.

As a "land-aware" poet in Prince George who is comfortably familiar with places like the unroaded headwaters of the Nass River, Belford examines the mutation of Marshall McLuhan's adage "the medium is the message" in the internet & cell phone era with Internodes (Talonbooks $16.95), his eighth poetry collection. "The conventional standards of narrative and lyric poetry give me nothing," he says.


Fire Weed (Talonbooks, 1967)
The Post Electric Caveman (Talonbooks, 1970)
Sign language (Repository-Gorse Press, 1979)
Pathways Into the Mountains (Caitlin, 2000)
ecologue (Harbour, 2005)
When Snakes Awaken (Nomados, 2006)
lan(d)guage: A sequence of poetics (Caitlin, 2008)
Decompositions (Talonbooks, 2010) $16.95 0889226318
Internodes (Talonbooks, 2013) $16.95 978-0-88922-792-7
Slick Reckoning (Talonbooks, 2016) $16.95 978-0-88922-978-5

[BCBW 2016] "Poetry"