Set mainly in the rural, HARROWINGS connects with Black intellectual and art history in relation to agriculture. The poems include pulses of memoir from the poet’s childhood growing up on a farm, as well as from more recent pandemic experiences volunteering for a local agricultural enterprise led by people who were formerly incarcerated. Considering movements organizing for food security and related, resurgent practices, HARROWINGS also contends with “the farm” as a tract of colonial advance. Tropes of tradition and supremacy are confronted in this study of biome, plants, and soil. Despite episodic and chronic illness, and by way of practical tasks such as sowing, pruning, and watering, the poetry advances with love towards abolitionist futures.
Cecily Nicholson is the author of four books and a past recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. She was the Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University and the Write- in-Residence at the University of Windsor. She teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and collaborates with community impacted by carcerality and food insecurity.