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The Poetry

During the time of the Iron and Clay Empire, a saint who melts the snow with his feet sets out to preach to the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver in A Familiar Shore. His Goliath is poverty and injustice, yet his sling holds only one stone, a minstrel who is a prolific songstress. A poet and florist named Sea, and her daughter Rain, tell of a brush with nature in years of reparation from cancer. Sea chronicles her journey as she meets Raven, a former prostitute, by the sea in Tofino, and a medicine woman of the Stó:lō band, the People of the River.


Emily Isaacson features the woman identity in her art depicting the survival of an ancient people in the northern hemisphere. Her storytelling of the sacred circle to preserve the traditions and ways of the four medicines and the four directions includes both free verse and prose poetry. Her palette of postmodern hues etches her lyric and verse into a glorious classical composition, accented by ocean thunder, and with solitude as its rest.

Fragile in uniformity,

shaped like a pewter pear

women find themselves composed of art,

of work, of decoration, of travel.

Fruits and flowers

crown women in their glory,

and they move from one location

to another in exile and in elocution.

The milieu where woman flourishes

is the center of life.


Where the woman identity centers around her,

and where she is centered, the arising

of her life stands alone in its power.

The changes that occur in her hands

and by her will speak of the empowerment

of a culture and its people.

For the nation trembles when

women are hurt, marginalized, or abused—

the tears of a child are never justified,

but the enduring nature of a smile.


Emily Isaacson