In this collection of long and serial poems, Stephen Collis circumambulates tar sands tailings ponds and English lakes—and stands in the path of pipelines, where on Burnaby Mountain in 2014 he was sued for $5.6 million by energy giant Kinder Morgan, whose lawyers glossed Collis’s writing in court by noting, “underneath the poetry is a description of how the barricade was constructed.” Called by Eden Robinson “the most dangerous poet in Canada,” in Once in Blockadia Collis is in search of how we can continue to resist—as we only begin to understand the extent of our complicity and the depths of the predicament we are in.
“A poetry that is ecological in an anti-capitalist way has been a long time in coming. And yet here it is finally: Stephen Collis’s Once in Blockadia. It was worth the wait. For this book is stunning in how relentlessly it defies all tired expectations about not just nature poetry, but about poetry in general. And yet at the same time, it’s full of homage to the parts of the poetry tradition that matters. And then also it has got bears and ravens and wolves and otters in it. And then also it explains how to barricade, how to blockade. And then also at moments it even provides hope and solace”—Juliana Spahr