Emptying the Ocean
By Kim Fahner
Frontenac House (November 2022)
Emptying the Ocean is a poetic journey based on the ancient Irish immram tales—the soul voyages taken by a woman who moves mystically through the four elements and the spirited Otherworld. Water, earth, air, and fire are woven through with imagination, inspiration, and spirit.
The voice of the selkie bookends the collection, and the character of the sailor finds himself caught up in her wake. Rooted firmly in Irish myth and lore, with references to strong female figures who shapeshift and move between dimensions, there are Atlantic echoes of both Ireland and Newfoundland at work in these poems.
"Kim Fahner’s contemporary immram takes the Celtic journey to the Otherworld and spins it into a book in which powerful female spirits of transformation trade strategies to keep their heads above water, or dive deep into mysterious depths and come back changed. This is the season of Fahner’s swamp witch, whose advice to “Tread water. Kick hard” will leave
you breathing with every inch of your lungs."
-Tanis MacDonald, author of Straggle:
Adventures in Walking While Female
"In Kim Fahner’s striking new collection, each poem wails, a body floundering in its own wet galaxy. Words are new lovers, capturing us in a carnal trance, and we are waterlogged with longing. How can we even begin to recover? Lured in by the siren song of Fahner’s deft poetic hand, Emptying the Ocean is mythological umami – opulence, splendour, and magic on the tongue."
-Adrienne Gruber, author of Q & A
"These poems—“so pine & blood scented”—are rooted in the body and the land. Shuttling from Northern Ontario to Newfoundland to Ireland, from scarcity to excess, Emptying the Ocean steeps readers in Kim Fahner’s poetic sensibility. Working with Celtic lore, with women’s art, Fahner asks: how do you live as though everything matters? How do you inhabit a world smelling “of love and loss all at once”?"
-Ariel Gordon, author of TreeTalk
Emptying the Ocean:
A long playlist
"Kim Fahner finds 'art where it's least expected on this morning walk' in this lyric exploration. Whether responding to the landscape of the Great Lakes or an exhibit at the National Gallery, her perceptive, connective eye finds poetry everywhere." -- Alice Major
"...it is the searing optimism of this poet that I most admire: These Wings is a collection that elevates our humanity at a moment when such feeling is deeply needed. And I, for one, am thankful." -- Susan Rich
Some Other Sky
From the head frames of mines near the outskirts of Sudbury, to the birds that soar over Pelee Island, Kim Fahner’s poetry is about discovering self, journeying, finding paths and straying from them, and then trying to make meaning out of image and metaphor.
Her voice is clear, quirky, and spirited, but always searching. In the midst of the poetry, there are birds, trees, shifts of light and weather in sky, feathers, and pebbles gathered on the shores of lakes. She is drawn to the rhythms of the natural world in a manner that speaks to her Celtic background.
The Narcoleptic Madonna
Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 69
This collection, gathering poetry written over the span of twelve years, is diverse but speaks to the idea of journeying and pilgrimage. Fahner's poetry speaks to the power of the unseen world, whether that world is rooted in nature, or in the interconnected relationships that lend form and substance to a person's life.
braille on water
Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 51
MYTHIC YET STEEPED IN THE PRESENT, these poems wake us up to the sensual continuum of which we are a part. From the intimate to the cosmological. Despite Fahner's breadth of vision and mythic references, she never over-reaches. Her reach is within. These are the kind of poems that can give you goose bumps.