Home and Native Land by Heather Nolan
2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist
Heather Nolan has made the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Home and Native Land.
Heather Nolan is a writer, photographer and songwriter living in St. John's, N.L. Her work tends to explore the communications and chasms between identity and wilderness. She is keen on hiking and is an avid beach rock collector.
Entry in five-ish words
Seeking cultural identity in Newfoundland
The poem's source of inspiration
"This poem was written in Ireland in the winter of 2017. During this trip through Ireland, I was constantly aware of the similarities between the culture in rural Ireland and in Newfoundland, where I grew up and still live. These similarities are largely based upon the shared cultural practices of our common roots, given that Newfoundland is largely populated with Irish settlers, but they are also based upon the kinship that islands share, particularly those in harsh environments. This poem was inspired by the suspension of identity that hovers over a people who are cut off from their ancestral roots in a land that does not belong to them."
the nickname "the rock"
always called to mind some
jagged spire in hostile seas;
accurate enough, in practice,
with desperate people clinging
from cliffs, trying their damndest
to thrust down roots in a land
with no soil.