Deanna Radford's poetry has appeared Art + Wonder, the Capilano Review, carte blanche, Free City Radio, the Headlight Anthology, and Vallum. In Fall 2018, her poem, “When my lover is across the ocean,” was shortlisted for the Capilano Review's Robin Blaser Poetry Contest judged by Fred Wah. Her writing on music, literature, and media art has appeared in Arc Poetry, Flypaper, Herizons, the mRb, Musicworks, and others. She is the former curator of the Atwater Poetry Project (2015 -2019) and has enjoyed being a judge for the Poetry In Voice Bilingual Team Regionals for several years. Her poetry/sound group Cloud Circuit will launch its début EP, Bur sting brea k'r, this winter with Archive Officielle Publications. She is completing an MA in creative writing at Concordia University in Montréal.
When I was in my early teens, I wasn't a great student but always did well in English. Writing poetry was a way to express myself and to get through difficult times. I was (and still am) a huge music fan. I realized I could write poetry after copying out dozens of song lyrics by my favourite artists. It was so satisfying to be able to play with words, images, and ideas on the page. I stopped writing poetry in my late teens and turned to music and art journalism. After moving to Montréal from Winnipeg, I came back to poetry. I found it so fun and freeing to write! Once I became comfortable writing and speaking about poetry is when I started to identify as a poet.
While poetry can operate in discreet ways on the page or performed, it's an essential ingredient for human communication, connection, and expression. It's a form of art anyone can engage in and with it, we can speak and challenge truths, celebrate, commemorate, dream, make, protest, seek solace. Great poetry speaks to the human condition, can make magic, and move readers and listeners.
The job of the poet is to honour the particular ideas, feelings, or gestures that compel them as artist and as witness to their own moment in time.
In "fluorine," Rita Wong captures the "mundane acts" as part of the human relationship to the natural environment and hazardous materials powerfully. She writes,
informed crowded alloys detect no
health damage until generations later i
brush my teeth with nuclear intensity
the cavities i avoid destined for others
fall into hazardous-waste piles up as
Not only does the poem speak of how hazardous materials are ingrained our daily lives and the fallout from using them, but it also shows how intimately connected they are to our lives. I love this poem because of how much it conveys in a single stanza, especially human empathy and our responsibility for these matters at the same. If I had to choose one poem to memorize from the anthology, it would be "flourine" for these reasons. It's as relevant now as it was when it was published in 2007. And because it's beautiful to look at, like a puff of breath on a "cold crisp morning."