photo: Kate SutherlandSince its beginning eight years ago, Canadian Writers Abroad has stepped away from the “abroad” to publish Canadian poetry, to mark the solstice or the equinox. This June, CWA presents Kate Sutherland, a poet who has been wandering for the past year (see bio note below). For your summer solstice reading, here are two poems about people a long way from home: “Shipwrecked” and “A New Epidemic.”

BeastsoftheSea2The poems are from Beasts of the Sea (knife/fork/book 2018), a poem sequence about Vitus Bering’s 1741 sea voyage from Russia to Alaska. I met Kate Sutherland last fall at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where we went for a walk undisturbed by beasts of any sort.  -DM




photo: Kate Sutherland

Steller’s Sea Cow, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Sutherland new epidemic

HowtoDrawaRhinocerosSutherland’s Note for “A New Epidemic”: These poems are excerpted from Beasts of the Sea (knife/fork/book 2018), a poem sequence about Vitus Bering’s 1741 sea voyage from Russia to the bit of America now known as Alaska, which draws from conflicting accounts found in the official logbook of the ship, and the journals of Georg Steller (naturalist and ship’s doctor) and Sven Waxell (second-in-command).


photo: Eric Bridenbaker

Kate Sutherland


Kate Sutherland is the author of two collections of short stories, Summer Reading (Thistledown Press 1995) and All In Together Girls (Thistledown Press 2007). Her book of poems, How to Draw a Rhinoceros (Book*hug Press 2016), was shortlisted for a Creative Writing Book Award by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Her most recent publication is a chapbook of poems: Beasts of the Sea. Her stories and poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Best Canadian Poetry and Best American Experimental Writing. A new collection of poems on the theme of extinction is forthcoming from Book*hug Press in Fall 2020.
Kate Sutherland was born in Scotland, moved to Canada as a child, grew up in Saskatoon, and as an adult, lived in Ottawa, Edmonton, and Boston for a number of years. A professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, she settled in Toronto. She has spent much of this year wandering in the UK, where literary adventures included a residency at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, and poem research at natural history museums in Edinburgh and London.


Hawthornden Castle. photo credit: Kate Sutherland


Feature photo credit: Eleanor Proudfoot.

Posted by Debra Martens

author, editor