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Clay Road

poetry of Emily Isaacson

A Familiar Shore book trailer

A Familiar Shore

Poetry by Emily Isaacson 

Tate Publishing

Paperback: $19.99     362 pages

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A Familiar Shore is the story of Sea and her child Rain, her journey as a poet and writer, and her battle with cancer. Sea chronicles her healing journey as she meets Raven, a woman by the sea in Tofino, and a medicine woman of the Stó:lō people. The stories of four women are interwoven with their poetry, parables, and myth. They eventually discover what binds them together and what heals them.

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About the Author:

Emily Isaacson is a poet and author who lives in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. She founded the Wild Lily Institute, where she remains director. Isaacson has trained in nutrition in natural medicine, creative writing and restorative justice. She teaches others to use skills of conflict resolution, circle keeping, and healing through forgiveness. Her themes include the sea, healing, forgiveness, and reparation.

Isaacson’s poetry is sacred and powerful. Her poet's voice shines amid oppression and despair. She has said that hearing poetry live makes its nuances and colour come to life! She knows there is hope to overcome the obstacles in life of disease and depression. She speaks from personal experience that love is a powerful force that can free and move a nation.

A Familiar Shore will be released at The Reach Gallery Museum. The poetry on healing and the First Nations People will coincide with the exhibit at The Reach on the First Nations people and colonialism. 



What was my maxim? For what did I live 

and for what did I perish? Beneath a gold crown,

were my waistlines eternal, and did my neck,

surrounded by jewels, as a night

places the gemstones of planets, moons and stars,

draw a crowd?

Did the fawning nation swoon when

I came out, restless

as an immense sea roaring at the composed moon

over its correction and manipulation,

harsh as salt waves, euphoric in my mouth.



In what spirit did I rule?

When I spoke words of silver,

what resounded into the room

was swimming and submerging

beneath the waters of a river

no one could cross.

I buried my face in the dust,

I offered my cheek to my enemy,

never passionless or indifferent

my motions carried into deathlessness

at a banquet whereupon death would dance.



Where was I found?

The bronze meadow was my home,

the gem of seas, all seven,

the bear mountain I knew

like the back of my hand, and the

solace of the lace of the fields

I gathered into the hem of my garment.

I touched the waters of meribah

when I drank from the crystal decanter

and forged the way through the wood

for a people: my nation.



What was my figurehead

etched upon a coin? The copper touch piece

was a keepsake and currency of a nation

emaciated and gaunt,

starving for the food of my voice—

resonant and luminous as the fruit of the vine.

My charger went forth, no more than a colt

yet I was a horsewoman.

What I could not imitate of the ardent prayer,

I swallowed and said again in my own words,

opening the heavens and descending like an eagle.



What was my lady?

The statue was iron-silent, beckoning of power,

yet elegant in infertility,

a lament with an ode to the sons and daughters

of others, bleak and illustrious—

reflecting honour as a mirror

that would leave us unconfused as to the distinct

separateness of a mother and child.

The figure held a similitude, measuring time

and distance with a tape measure

instead of a scale.



Where did I break, and fall into the heart of the sea?

Why did the chasm open to swallow me like clay

deep beneath the earth.

Infusing me with the gems of nations,

and their varied colours,

I found meaning in the little things,

and recorded the symphonies of nature.

Somehow the movement of the shadows and lights

over the earth, played like a chord

upon the harp, its stringed note lingering

into the dust of mankind.


--Emily Isaacson, A Familiar Shore