Category Archives: Uncategorized

the shine


This year has provoked not-much, in the after recovery of the birth of my beautiful daughter. Soon to be one and I’m so happy to know her. Joyous in the face of her soon-to-be first birthday. But some floating anxiety over the illness that hit me after. A big truck. So there’s this. For what it’s worth.



To shine forth – last year’s almost-end. Or almost-stroke. Or almost-seizure. Possible-failures: liver, kidneys. Now — increased risk of cardiovascular death. 2x more likely. Heart worn thin.

Dreaming in a mag sulphide haze of Margaret Kilgallen who died of cancer days after giving birth to her daughter. Her large scale letterforms eating up the sky. Her sly folk ladies with full ladles.

The winter outside and how it stormed and the trees carried with them all the cold. Thinking of wolves. The other babies in the ward crying as they were born and for milk. My milk coming in without Rose who couldn’t be with me. I’m compromised.

Daytime visitation only, except for the last night. Where we hovered and I shifted the baby so the nurses could check my blood pressure again. Again. Again.

Not permitted to walk. Not permitted to have bright lights. Not permitted to get up. No excessive stimuli. No stress (if possible). Limited visitors.

The pressures increasing. Reflexes so quick that I nearly kicked the ER doctor in the face. My stomach a teaching tool, displaying a reflex that shouldn’t exist. Indicative.

My mother nearly choking on a hard boiled egg while I pumped milk. The milk I sent home and the smell of formula in the baby’s spit up mixed in.

Both my parents visiting, waiting at the bedside. What is your blood pressure? What is it now? What is it now?

From the ER, how I wasn’t allowed to walk but instead was wheeled back into the maternity ward. Lights, then lights, then, lights in the hallway. Watching them and then considering that if I died there’d be nothing set up for my husband and the new baby. That nothing was safe for them. Irritated at the potential of dying for birthing. Irritated at my own privilege that my response is ‘irritation’ and ‘fear’ rather than ‘resignation’.

Before the ER, my limbs swell. I can’t catch up on sleep. When I wake up, I’m still tired and crying. This overwhelming sense of paralyzing dread. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Then the headaches. And the bright lights that wake me at 4am like being hit in the eyes with flashbulbs.

How easy it would have been to dismiss all this as exhaustion or postpartum depression. My grandmother’s heart disease misdiagnosed as depression. How everything felt crooked and aghast.

How very lonesome here.

Reviews, interviews, and so on.


Random round-up of reviews, interviews, and other online novelties primarily relating to Conflict, dating from the recent to semi-recent. May update as I troll through the detritus of my memory to add more.

Reviews of Conflict (BookThug, 2012)

Review of Conflict by Meredith Darling, Matrix (summer 2013)
(no online link yet!)

Secret Lives of Letters by Melissa Dagleish (Canadian Literature)

Cassie Leigh reviews Conflict (Grey Borders site then OpenBook Ontario)

Brief review by Cameron Anstee

review (on the difficulties of reviewing spouse) by rob mclennan in the Prairie Fire Review of Books

A Knockout Debut by Grady Harp (Literary Aficionado)

Reviews of Notes from a Cartywheel (AngelHousePress, 2012)

Review of Notes from a Cartywheel by Cameron Anstee, originally published in the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter

Of Cartywheels & Autopsies:the poetry of Christine McNair & Catherine Owen by Mark McCawley


Canadian Poets Petting Cats: Christine McNair and Lemonade (Evan Munday)

10 Questions for Christine McNair (Cassie Leigh)

Christine McNair on feeling Conflicted (Jeremy Colangelo)

The Proust Questionnaire with Christine McNair (OpenBook Ontario)

12 or 20 questions with Christine McNair by rob mclennan

Interview by Kevin Spenst

Video interview by BookThug of Christine McNair.
(Slight awkwardness and unfortunate cardigan)


hush now, don’t explain

And so it goes.

Nouveau New Nuevo

Another year. I’ve been appallingly bad at updating this blog. It could be because of the wedding. But more likely it’s because I’ve been working more than ever this year with the full-time job, the part-time bookbinding work, and various other parceled portions of day-to-day that subsume. I’ve also tried updating the radio show archive several times over the past few months and it is resisting my files for some unknown reason. To be determined! It won’t let me add subtle links or photos either. WordPress wishes me silent? Husha!

Determination. My resolution for this year is to be resolved in all things. I’d like to read from Conflict (  across the Dominion. I’d like to visit some friends in the Maritimes that I haven’t seen in some time. I’d like to get my beautiful Improved Pearl press moving. I’ve begun playing with it but need to figure out how to work in my corner of a shared basement.

I’d like to find room in my head. If a person requires a room of their own then that’s where I need it. It’s more than physical space. My brain lacks barriers and time for contemplation.

I intend to be pyromorphic.

I’d like to become more active in supporting those around me. In the broader political human sense and the personal familial sense.

Thinking on the Idle No More movement and forwarding thusly this letter from CWILA (Canadian Women in Literary Arts) expressing support for Chief Spence and the Idle No More movement:

Robert Kroetsch (June 26, 1927 — June 21, 2011)

Salt, of Ocean Sea, of Tears

the forfeiture
of ending
to begin begin
& arch & heel

(excerpt from Field Notes.)

conscious choice

Because breath is life. Because love, peace, happiness, forgiveness, and all variants thereof are a conscious choice (sometimes mostly perhaps). Happiness is a warm bell. A mindfulness clock to remind you to breathe. I love setting it to random so I can centre myself:

“Your father said, ‘In little business lies much rest’. This world is but a thoroughfare and full of woe; and when we depart thereform, right naught we bear with us but our good deeds and ill.” (My fifteenth great-grandmother Agnes to her son John Paston in Fleet Prison, 1465.)

Kroetsch Award shortlist

Uber-pleased to be a finalist along with my co-Ottawans: Amanda Earl, Pearl Pirie, and Sandra Ridley for the Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Pearl did a neat list with links of all the finalists.

* update: hurrah for Pearl who takes the ribbon! I’m much looking forward to her book: