Earth on the Ocean's Back by Daniel Cowper
2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist
Daniel Cowper has made the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Earth on the Ocean's Back.
Daniel Cowper was born in 1981, and grew up in his great-grandparents' cabin on Bowen Island. After studying medieval literature, philosophy and law in Vancouver, Manhattan and Toronto, Daniel returned to Bowen Island, where he hand-built a cabin of his own. Daniel's poems have appeared in various literary journals, including Arc, Vallum, Freefall, Prairie Fire and Contemporary Verse 2, and he serves as poetry editor for Pulp Literature. In 2017, his first chapbook The God of Doors was published by Frog Hollow Press as co-winner of its 2016 chapbook contest.
The poem's source of inspiration
"After four difficult years in Toronto, I moved home to B.C. Back home, I spent a lot of time alone on foot, reacquainting myself with the local woods and cityscape. The subject of grief was on my mind. As our temperate winter dragged on, various encounters and even dreams struck me powerfully. Several times, I saw something disturbing and said to myself: 'This means something. But what?' Out of the answers to the iterations of that question came a series of poems, including Earth on the Ocean's Back."
Rain mists the poppy pins
of passersby outside. In a café,
standing couples rehash the cenotaph
service; cognoscenti critique beans
and brewing machines. I remember
Mary Battle used to say dreams were false
from Spring until saps fell, says an Irishman