At the turning of the season, Canadian Writers Abroad features a poet. This time we are publishing the poems of a poet quite unlike our usual contributors: Vivian Hansen lives in the same city where she was born and raised — Calgary. I heard her read at the Banff Centre in September and that’s why I asked her if she would be willing to share a couple of poems. They are from her new collection, Crawlspace. The poems chosen are as far from winter or the dark of the winter solstice as she is from being a writer abroad. For more about Vivian Hansen, see the bio below the poems.

Frontenac House Poetry 2013

Inside the Mountain

Somehow I found the trail,
the one that led to the mountain’s gut,
where a kitchen nestled in the lee of rock.
Buoyant and fresh, frothy curtains swept
into a summer gust.
A kitchen where I set a simple lunch,
a boiled egg.

A kitchen tall,
its windows suffused in light.
Who knew that the inside of the mountain
would discern such nimble memory?
Who knew it would show a path approved,
years beyond the slow start
of my youthful hike. 

I can swing my arms, wide in middle-age
despite the old broken arm and shoulder,
a 360˚ turn
within this circumference.

A boiled egg waits for me,
A tangible white delivery
of all that was.

A weightless restoration.

Vivian Hansen’s publications include three full-length books of poetry: Leylines of My Flesh (Touchwood Press 2002), which chronicles Danish immigration to western Canada, A Bitter Mood of Clouds (Frontenac House 2013), which tells of the life and times of Arne Petersen, a transgender Dane who received sex reassignment in 1953. A Tincture of Sunlight (2017) tells the story about Old Man, a WWII veteran, biologist and life commentator. She has published recent essays in Coming Here, Being Here (ed: Don Mulcahy, Guernica Editions 2016), and in Waiting (eds. Rona Altrows and Julie Sedivy, University of Alberta Press 2018). She is currently working on a novella entitled The Book of Ferns, which explores the human cost of eco-terrorism. She has also completed a fourth book of poetry, Crawlspace, which is currently searching for a publishing home. Hansen works in Calgary as a creative writing instructor with the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, and Alexandra Writers Centre. In another day job, she also works with handicapped people in life supports.

Vivian Hansen


-Vivian Hansen answers questions for the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning 2017 Award for Continuing and Professional Education.
-A review of A Bitter Mood of Clouds (reviewed by Barbara Black for Room magazine).
-An interview with Vivian Hansen by The Toronto Quarterly.
-Interview with Vivian Hansen by Open Book Ontario — and the beginnings of her poetry.

Posted by Debra Martens

author, editor