Last year when a group of Sooke poets felt the isolation imposed by the pandemic, they decided to create a book of poetry.
Meeting every two weeks via Zoom, the group of seven poets from Sooke Writer’s Collective found community and purpose in crafting new work and drawings that would become All the Elements – Seven Poets from Sooke.
Group coordinator and book designer Deb Clay (who writes as dl clay) said “we wanted to keep the project small-ish so we decided on a chapbook format, with four poems from each poet.”
She added the title All the Elements covers it all “the natural world, group members, a changing world, and words that form and reform to tell stories.”
The book cover is colourful with the face of each author and photographs of “elements” from the local landscape. Line drawings on the pages (done by the authors themselves) were inspired by Rupi Kaur, whose poetry often includes simple drawings.
The poets shared their thoughts about the work and the process of writing together during the pandemic.
Clare Winstanley, who is publishing a debut anthology of poetry and illustrations in July, said the sharing of mutual challenges faced when trying to complete creative work in such strange times has given her the motivation to go further.”
In Lord of Storms David Reichheld considers “whether the elements have an ancient, conscious role in questioning our place, testing whether we’re strong enough to deserve it.”
Tatjana Darling noted: “My writing went from describing trees to trying to understand human nature coping with constant death looming overhead and old-school belief systems.”
Linda M. Green Abraham said the group came together to support a mutual need to find something positive and uplifting to do and share through the tough COVID-19 time.
Other poets include Jim Bottomley, whose novel Hypnotizing Lions was a finalist for the 2019 Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished Canadian mystery and is moving towards publication, and Mel Denys, who enjoys “amusing herself with words and the illustrated imaginings that pop into her noggin.”
All the Elements ($10) is available at the Gallery by Sooke Arts Council on the corner of Sooke & Church Roads. For more information on Sooke poets and authors visit SookeWriters.ca.