Maps of Our Bodies

Jan 31, 2010 by

Maps of Our Bodies & the borders we have agreed upon
Taien Ng-Chan

musical collaboration with Scott W. Gray
flash animation by Joe Ollmann
November 2005
Poetry, Spoken word, Video
6×6 inches, with flaps
$14 CDN / US
Originally published by Cumulus Press

Maps of Our Bodies draws on themes of travel, location / dislocation, and that old workhorse, love. These poems and prose poems are a series of maps and meditations on the act of traversing space, both physically and emotionally; together, they sketch out a narrative arc about the course of a relationship, from its intense and sleepless beginnings to the negotiations of boundaries and space, to separation over long distances and a solitary road trip across the huge expanse of land that is Canada.

“Beginning in a stuffy apartment, Taien Ng-Chan’s book of poems soon bursts onto the open landscape like a flock of birds swooping out of the bushes…. She perfectly captures the feeling of leaving everything you know but not being ready to arrive at a new place.  Despite the movement of the car, time is suspended on her journey.  Ng-Chan’s measured voice leaves wide-open spaces between words, as do many of her poems on the page.  This technique eloquently hints at a difficult relationship with someone, one that needs certain distances and detailed borders.  The arty table of contents is drawn like a map, and each poem represents a place on the journey.  Have you ever wanted to just keep on driving?  Taien does.  She empties tank after tank of gas, burning through every city and town on the Trans-Canada highway.  Until, of course, she long passes her destination and reaches the ocean, where she has ‘nothing to do but turn back or fall in.’  The choice she makes reminds us that the most profound epiphanies always come when you work to make a place your home.”
— Shameless Magazine

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