Rock Creek Blues
by Thelma Poirier
Winner of the 2012 Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry. Shortlisted for the 2012 Acorn-Plantos Award.
Rock Creek Blues is both a tribute to, and a lament for, a way of life that is fast disappearing from the grasslands of the Canadian prairie. Thelma Poirier writes of the land and its inhabitants – plant, animal, and human – in vivid and loving detail, with deep feeling and authenticity. In poetry that is spare, strong, and unsentimental, she describes the rancher’s life, a life lived on the land where work is hard and weather matters, a life that changes as the seasons change, a life of fixing fence and hunting strays, of round-ups and branding and shipping cattle to market, but also a life made memorable by the beauty of landscape and sky, of birds and beasts.
The section “New Orleans, Saskatchewan” adds an exotic touch as, on the strains of a mother’s bluesy music, readers are carried south from the Great Plains to Louisiana. In “The January File”, it’s the threat of the Gulf War that throws its foreboding shadow over ranch country. Finally in “Call This Place Home”, a section that reprises many of the currents flowing through the book, the narrator admits that it`s time to leave the ranch and the live she loved and longs for.
Thelma Poirier’s very spirit shares the fragility of the grasslands ecosystem and all its creatures, great and small.
*Coteau Books has made Rock Creek Blues available in alternate formats in cooperation with NNELS.