“Oona River Poems” captures northwest B.C.’s landscapes

Canadian writer Peter Christensen releases his latest book, will tour the northwest later this year

The Prince Rupert Public Library aims to inspire words through its poetry month.

Events are being held throughout the month including a workshop with Terrace’s Writers North of 54 coming on Saturday, April 27, and poet, Peter Christensen will be at the library on Tuesday, April 30, 7 p.m. for the launch of his book Oona River Poems.

After moving to the remote North Coast community of Oona River, 42km south of Prince Rupert, nine years ago, he published his latest book with Thistledown Press.

“This one is quite different from his interior-centric poetry,” said library assistant, Lou Allison. In his writing career, he has published four books of poetry and a collection of stories.

Weather, relationships with neighbours and wildlife, as well as boating trips to and from Prince Rupert are all captured with his poignant words.

Oona River Poems tries to carefully, consciously and lovingly document our physical and psychological landscapes, the good and bad parts. I look for this in good writing and try to impart that to my writing because this approach reveals our nature, our actions and intent,” said Christensen.

Poems such as “2nd Avenue Rupert” capture the senses and reaction to a loud Ford Fiesta driving through downtown Prince Rupert.

“Above all this book is about making things real, about locating ourselves among real things. It is a reoccurring theme in the book. We are inundated with digital imagery and ‘news’ from outside our communities. Small town newspapers, I think, also try to make things real; we see the world through our experiences. Poetry tries to make those experiences universal,” he said.

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Since becoming a professional writer in 1975, Christensen has travelled to and lived in some of the more wild and rugged areas of Alberta, B.C. and the Northwest Territories. While writing he’s worked as a park ranger, ranch hand and guide.

Allison has a box of Christensen’s new books under her desk and she’s patiently waiting to open it when he arrives for the reading.

“I’m making myself not open them, not read them, waiting for Peter to come and do his reading, and he’ll be selling books at that launch, and there’ll be snacks and hopefully a lot of people from the area will come to that,” she said.

The library is also holding a poetry contest until April 26. The poems will be on display in the library, and a small panel of judges will pick the best poem. The winner will receive a gift basket of library goodies.

READ MORE: Heart of Our City — Joe Zelwietro sees the library for more than its books

An excerpt from

Peter Christensen’s Oona River Poems

2ND AVENUE RUPERT

A four beat

boom boxes out of

the trunk of a Ford Fiesta

recklessly cruising 2nd Avenue

A noisy procession

into the primal

Fuming down the street

Pissing evil

Leaving only the smell

of exhaust


Shannon Lough | Editor
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Prince Rupert library assistant, Lou Allison, shares events to be held at the library for Poetry Month, including a visit from Peter Christensen, who recently released “Oona River Poems.” (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

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