Now and Here
poetry by Naomi Beth Wakan
In this beautifully presented book, poet Naomi Beth Wakan joins photographer Christine Brooks Cote to offer glimpses into their “now and here.” Wakan wrote tanka—a format of five-line poems originating in Japan—in response to photographs by Cote. Wakan chose this particular format because it starts with an objective description of the image— “Early morning / the dew still resting / where it settled”—and then pivots to the poet's subjective reaction—“would we could wake refreshed / to look at things in new ways”. Cote’s photographs are the perfect inspiration for a poet—“you’re looking at my life and what I love; you’re seeing bits and pieces of places I have been; and you’re catching glimpses of the best moments of my life.” The title, Now and Here, comes from Henry David Thoreau: " . . . all these times and places and occasions are now and here.”
PHOTOGRAPHY / General
ISBN: 978-1-956056-09-9 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Released November 2021
96 pages; 38 full-color images
Naomi Beth Wakan is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo (2014–16) and the Federation of British Columbia Writer’s Inaugural Honorary Ambassador. She has published over fifty books. Her most recent book, a collection of new and selected poetry, is Wind on the Heath, 2020 (Shanti Arts). Her popular trilogy,—The Way of Tanka, The Way of Haiku, and Poetry That Heals—was published by Shanti Arts in 2019. Wakan is a member of The League of Canadian Poets, Haiku Canada, and Tanka Canada. She lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, the sculptor Elias Wakan.
“In Now and Here, Christine Cote’s photographs call and Naomi Beth Wakan’s poetry responds; a conversation between image and words. Wakan’s choice of verse is tanka, a five-line form from the Japanese poetic tradition. In her introduction, Wakan provides a concise, empathetic history of Japanese poetry that explains how the forms of tanka and haiku are related but differ. It will inform those for whom tanka is new and delight even those who are familiar with it. Cote’s photographs encapsulate moments of awareness that radiate her affection for her home territory in all its moods and particularity. Together, these photos and tanka, grounded in the here and now, evoke a timeless space.”
“Now and Here is an extraordinary ally for stilling the moment. As an editor, Christine Cote has, for years, championed the mixing of media in order to say a bit more. Now, as a co-author, in her well-timed collaboration with Naomi Waken’s poetic expression, we have been gifted a chance to breathe in her personal visual utterances.”
“Now and Here is a charming collaboration that goes beyond the here and now. This cooperative work of Naomi Beth Wakan and Christine Brooks Cote presents a series of conversations, with each pair of works blossoming from a sense of place and offering an escape through the open-ended artistry of their creators. Although the poems and photographs should (and do) speak for themselves, the introductory essays must not be ignored, as they provide a framework for the photos (and context for the tanka). Just as tanka can pivot from their beginnings, you can let this book transmit you to other times and other places.”
—Bill Pope, community photographer
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