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In 2010, Catherine Owen’s 29-year-old spouse died of a drug addiction. A year later, she relocated to an apartment by the Fraser River in Vancouver, B.C. As she moved beyond the initial shock, the river became her focus: a natural, damaged space that both intensifies emotion and symbolizes healing. In a sequence of aubades, or dawn poems, Owen records the practice of walking by or watching the river every morning, a routine that helps her engage in the tough work of mourning. Riven (a word that echoes river and means rift) is an homage to both a man and an ecosystem threatened by the presence of toxins and neglect. Yet, it is also a song to the beauty of nature and memory, concluding in a tribute to Louise Cotnoir’s long poem The Islands with a piece on imagined rivers. While Designated Mourner honors grief, Riven focuses on modes of survival and transformation through looking outward, and beyond.


Catherine Owen

Catherine owen was raised in Vancouver and lives in Edmonton. She has published 15 collections of poetry and prose. Dear Ghost was nominated for the Pat Lowther Award and won the Alcuin Prize. Locations of Grief, her memoir anthology featuring 24 Canadian writers, is also forthcoming in 2020.
Chapter Title Contents Contributors Pages Year Price


Thirty-Six Sentences on the Fraser River that Could Serve as a Very Small Nest – Nature Writing 101 – Beseech – To the Artist of Twenty-First Century Canadian Nature Painting … 26 $2.60


They will disappear these ruins and this beauty too – Today the river is thick with wind – A tug passes and the river frays, splits – Lots of trains today, their whistles … 22 $2.20


The Last Aubade – Conniption: The River – One Haiku; Four Takes – One January Morning – Catch & Release – Reversals – One History of the Fraser – … 24 $2.40