Creekstone Press Author
Gillian Wigmore, who answers to Jill, grew up with two brothers and a sister on 60 acres outside of Vanderhoof where her father is a vet and her mother taught English. Between dipping into her mom’s library of contemporary Canadian poets and making farm visits with her dad, she learned early about stories and the language poets use.
“My dad is a great storyteller,” she says. “When he took me on calls, I’d see the events unfold and then later hear him turn those events into stories, see what details he kept in, what he left out.” She’s a willing audience and often finds herself the receptacle for others’ stories, the attentive listening fueling and defining her own poetic impulse.
“There’s a way of telling stories up here,” Jill explains, “that I want to do. I want to capture the urgency of life and death up here, to make my poetry imperative.”
The poems in home when it moves you do just that. They crackle with the kind of impatient energy Jill herself radiates. In resurrection / flood, she writes of her childhood,
fueled by chocolate and desire we were green inside and snapping, sailing furiously,
wading furiously, whacking baby spruce trees to hell, and landing ‘ho’ on small rises, we
When she went to the University of Victoria’s writing program, she was especially influenced by the spare poetics of Derk Wynand. “He told me to quit fooling around,” Wigmore says, “and taught me to pay attention to every word.”
With two young children making their own demands, Wigmore struggles to find time to write. But their presence also fuels her creativity:
In tin boat, she writes:
the baby was asleep in the cabin
I stepped from the willows into the water
I climbed in thinking how stupid I’ll die tonight and no one will know
the baby will starve
we’ll be a story they tell at family reunions
the cousins will shake their heads and sigh
Time spent working at the Fort St. James national historic site triggered Wigmore’s fascination with the way stories of historical record are created. She begins Mal de Gorge at the Mercy of Word of Mouth (this is a true story) with:
history’s got this method of simplification
it’s got to do with essay writing
where, inside the word concise,
the story can be told completely:
In this collection of nine poems, Wigmore demonstrates with astonishing skill the kind of spare poetics that she strives for. Each of her poems is a complete story, a vibrant collection of sound and images that pulls the reader into her landscape and make her poetry imperative.
Creekstone titles by Gillian Wigmore