Daphne Marlatt


Daphne Marlatt was born in Melbourne, Australia, and spent her childhood years in Malaysia before immigrating to Vancouver in 1951. In 1981, she and her son, Kit, visited England to reacquaint themselves with her mother's roots--in family and language. How Hug a Stone (excerpted here), which chronicles this journey, was recently published by Turnstone Press (201-99 King St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada). Among Marlatt's books are What Matters, poems & journal entries; Zocalo, a nonfiction novel; and Steveston, a historical drama aired on CBC. Touch to My Tongue will be out this year from Longspoon Press. Marlatt helped to organize the Canadian literary conference "Women and Words / Les femmes et les mots" at the University of British Columbia last year.


This book was written in a series of layers, almost archeological the urge to dig deeper in, to the hidden [not yet verbalized] series of connections that underlay, like root systems, like bone-seeds, the obvious data of our trip. Writing/traveling a series of intersections, two kinds of speech as my Canadian tongue found its way around the remnants of my British one. Traveling as a gathering of bones [to bring back to life, joined, in the body of the text]. My journal was full of jottings as well as narrative paragraphs and these informed the journal entries in the book. First came the poems which started as soon as I got home, dense clusters of intersections. Then came the prose entries, as narrative connecting lines. Text as map, another kind of body--not "napkin, sheet", shroud, not a mere imprint of experience long gone, but speech speaking what is to be said.

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