Imprints and Casualties: Poets on Women and Language, Reinventing Memory

Article excerpt

BROKEN JAW PRESS 2000

Imprints and Casualties documents some of the debates, obsessions, and urgent questions of feminist poets between 1985 and 1993. As such, these selections from the Living Archives of the League of Canadian Poets' Feminist Caucus make for fascinating reading, giving us some much needed historical grounding in the face of a hypercapitalist barrage of cutbacks and consumerism which seems to be reimposing patriarchy faster than we can say `no.'

Marie Annharte Baker's feisty words always give heart, "My oxygen use will be for creating a better society and not for extolling decadence and whatever lies 500 years of European settlement has brought to our Turtle Island." From her perspective as a "raggedy shawl," a First Nations woman who keeps on fighting, Baker challenges us to understand the political effects of our words.

The correspondence between Erin Moure and Bronwen Wallace provokes me to investigate my relations to a language that speaks me even as I speak it. Wallace suggests that "we don't just speak for ourselves, ever: lyrically or otherwise;" the implications of this statement hold both promise and terror. …