listening to the universe: meteorite

a concrete sound poetry recording by nina jane drystek


listening to the universe: meteorite

the geography and environment of the Ottawa and Madawaska Valleys are consistent backdrops of my life: driving up father’s hometown of Wilno, Ontario, getting to know and working the land with him and my grandparents, wandering it on my own and with my sisters and cousins. crossed by rivers, moulded by water and receding glaciers, peppered with rocks known as glacial erratics, it is a beautiful and unique. it’s a place where i often find myself composing.

a few years ago, i began writing elementals a series of concrete poetry scores about the elements and natural world of this region, my relationship to them and those of the people who have and do inhabit it. through my project research i learned about Brent Crater, an ancient meteor crater located in the northern end of Algonquin Park. this unusual phenomenon added another dimension to the elementality.

hiking the crater i found it full of cedars and they make up the ring of the crater in the visual poem. the text ringing the crater is mostly lifted Algonquin Park’s Brent Crater Trail guide. within the crater the text is made up of the letters in “meteorite”, “cedar” and “sea”. a version of this poem was published in the Peter F. Yacht Club #32.

sonically dense, this poem is a companion to ”listening to the universe: orbit” which was published in SAND Journal in 2022. the creation of this poem was funded by the Ontario Arts Council.

nina jane drystek is a poet, writer and performer based in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. she is the author of the chapbooks missing matrilineal (above/ground press, 2023), a:of:in (Gap Riot Press, 2021) and knewro suite (Simulacrum Press, 2019). she received an honourable mention for the 2023 Priscilla Uppal Memorial Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2020 Bronwen Wallace Emerging Writers Award for Poetry. she performs sound poetry solo as textcurious and with a rotating group of collaborators, recordings of her work can be heard on Bandcamp and YouTube. she is one of the co-founders of Riverbed Reading Series, sits on the editorial board of Arc Poetry Magazine and writes collaborative poetry with VII—authors of holy disorder of being (Gap Riot, 2022) and Towers (Collusion Books, 2021). she makes her home in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory. if you have ever lived in the same city as her you have likely seen her riding a red or blue bicycle.

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