LITERARY LOCATION: Jericho Beach, 3941 Point Grey Road, Vancouver

Originally the site of a First Nations village called Ee'yullmough, the beach area became known as Jerry's Cove due the logging operations of Jeremiah Rogers, giving rise to the current name Jericho. Later the site of Vancouver's first golf course, it was overtaken by the National Department of Defence in 1919 for a seaplane base and ultimately ceded to the Vancouver Park Board in the early 1970s.

"I spend a lot of time walking in Jericho Park," says Kitsilano resident Miranda Pearson, "and love it there. Ever since I have lived in Vancouver, since 1991, that has been a special place for me, especially the field to the rear of the park where wild lupins and sweetpeas grow. I believe the park used to be a golf course a hundred or so years ago, and this place was where the club house was, hence all the domestic flowers. I identify with that, the combination of wild and domestic, and the idea of the past growing through the present."

POEM:

Off Jericho

-we swam,

bobbing seal heads in the sea,

daring to push out farther till

we were black seal-heads to the lifeguards,

their raised binoculars.

Our children, engrossed in the

swarming particulars of seashore, lifted

bright armfuls of spinach-y seaweed,

watched by reluctant friends who

hadn't realized we would be gone that long

but so far we swam, the beach

kneeled into the drifting body of sea,

it rose up to be a pewter shelf.

We delayed there. Trod water.

This was the best time: the mountains

across the bay sat grand in their

crumpled ball gowns and we beneath

as if children, our twin heads, pearly legs

kicking past old fears of biting fish,

red tide, pollution. Out

where the freighters graze,

remembering China.

[from Prime(Beach Holme Books 2001)

ENTRY:

Miranda Pearson was born in Westerham Kent, England. She attended art school in London, and studied at the University of Brighton. She moved to Canada in 1991 to work as a psychiatric nurse. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she was poetry editor for Prism International. Pearson has taught Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University. She was the poetry mentor at the SFU Writers Studio 2007-11, and has taught various Continuing Studies courses at SFU. Pearson lives in Vancouver where she has worked for Vancouver Coastal Health since 1991, specializing in Eating Disorders. She also provides private manuscript consultation and editorial input for poetry in progress.

"We live such flammable lives,"; writes Pearson in the title poem for her fourth collection, The Fire Extinguisher (Oolichan $17.95). Again Pearson evokes the struggle to live outside and beyond vulgarity and catastrophe, bravely beholden to glimpses of grace. There are some particularly sublime and subtle poems about human frailty when a body has been invaded by the c-word.

Pearson's poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including: The Malahat Review, Event, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Arc, and Prairie Fire. Her poems appear in many anthologies, most recently: Seventy Five Women Poets - Ed. Susan Musgrave. Poetry. Mother Tongue Publishing, The Bright Well - Canadian Poets Write about Cancer Ed. Fiona Lam, Leaf Press. Her seven chapbooks include: Fire and Ice- Ed.: Catherine Owen, 2013, Jane (Light Factory Publications) 2007, Spanish Greens (Light Factory Publications) 2006, and After The Body (Reference West Publishing) 1996.

Pearson has contributed several book reviews and essays to Event and Arc magazines. Poems were selected for BC's 2002, 2010 and 2015 Poetry in Transit program. Numerous appearances on CBC including North by North West arts program. A long poem from The Aviary-Silver Collection-was published in an art catalogue produced to accompany the Medicine Hat Museum in Alberta 2003 exhibition, "Polish";, an installation by artist Mary Kavanagh. In 2009 a CD of Selected Poems was recorded, with original music by Paul Plimley.

Pearson has attended many arts residencies including at Vermont Arts Centre, Banff Writer's Studio, Sage Hill, St. Peter's Abbey, and Emma Lake Saskatchewan. Recent public readings include: Vancouver International Writer's Festival - 2002 and 2010, University of Victoria Word Thaw Festival, 2014, UBC Department of Psychiatry, 2014, SFU Lunch Time Poetry and Border Crossing Series, 2013, Sechelt Arts Centre, 2012, Vancouver125 Poetry Conference, 2011, Whitehorse Poetry Festival, 2011. The Poets Café, London and Word Play Writer's Festival, Shetland, Scotland, 2010. Numerous appearances at Vancouver Public Library Dead Poets Society and at Word on The Street.

Her collection The Aviary (2006) won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize in 2006, awarded by the Writers Federation of New Brunswick.

Her collection Harbour (2009) was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay poetry prize.

Her collection The Fire Extinguisher (2015) was nominated for a Dorothy Livesay poetry prize.

BOOKS:

Prime (Beach Holme 2001) 088878418x
The Aviary (Oolichan, 2006) 0-88982-230-1
Harbour (Oolichan, 2009)
The Fire Extinguisher (Oolichan 2015) $17.95 978-0-88982-308-2
Rail (McGill-Queen's 2019) $17.95 978-0-7735-5894-6

[BCBW 2019] "Poetry"