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Sunday Poetry with Sarah Pinder

Sunday Poetry with Sarah Pinder

By Coach House Date: March 28, 2018 Tags: Sunday Poetry, Sarah Pinder, Common Place

This week's instalment of Sunday Poetry comes to you with a Lambda Literary Awards stamp of approval. Sarah Pinder's 2017 book, Common Place, has been nominated for the 2018 Lesbian Poetry award, and so we've asked her to take us back to the hazy days of summer 2016 when she completed the manuscript. Common Place is a long poem, and the following appears on pages 96 and 97.

Imagine a hole in the middle of your occupations.

Mine shows a pile of bleach-blown linens

shot through with supernovas.

I don’t feel sorry.

I can’t feel particularly apologetic,

but I wish an accident of silence

would leave a crack down the side of this time.

Cups eject into pieces off the shelves,

great, weird flocks pass in formation

over the oily water and bone-smooth Styrofoam.

I collect sand-caked lighters instead of shells

and arrange them in a spectrum by colour.

The wedding party prepares –

a tent goes up,

the tour bus passes,

and capital continues.

This morning,

I read about a woman hollowing

out a bagel to consume the shell

stuffed with processed whiteness

and mass-smoked flesh.

I think of gusto,

sand in the crotch of your pants,

in the folds of your skin.

The tour bus passes.

I pledge to eat the crumb cake

national project at the ceremony,

scrape off the lavender icing florets first.

I try to will on rain.

On how Common Place came to be …

I worked on the last section of this book at an artist residency on Toronto Island. The residency also does a certain amount of business in the summer as a party venue. Over the course of my ten-day stay, there were multiple weddings. My woodshedding was punctuated by wedding bands rehearsing, event planners whirring around with strands of white Christmas lights, and couples getting their wedding photos taken – all while I traipsed around in the same sweatpants and crumb-covered t-shirt I’d been wearing for several days. I kept singing the chorus of the Hidden Cameras song 'Ban Marriage' to myself, over and over. The hollowed out bagel that appears here belongs to Lindsay Lohan, via a celebrity tabloid article from the pile in the residency’s collective kitchen. 

Common Place (2017)
Common Place explores the stories of shifting, resilient bodies and landscapes bound by systems of capital and power. From thin threads of text messages across borders to encounters with strangers in the crush of rush-hour transit, Sarah Pinder names our most private and public moments of seeing and being seen. With considered, quiet urgency, this poem witnesses our ambiguous, aching present and looks toward what comes next.