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Pandemic Response Reading Series: Robert Colman and Claire Caldwell

Watch the launch of Democratically Applied Machine by Robert Colman, joined by Claire Caldwell, with her new Gold Rush and Ariel Gordon as host. This event was held online as part of the Pandemic Response Reading Series on April 29, 2020.

To find out more about the series and sign up to attend readings, please visit

About DAM: Robert Colman’s third book of poetry, Democratically Applied Machine, features poems that inhabit both industrial and domestic landscapes. Through these poems Colman traces his inheritance to determine how his life echoes that of his forebears, even as the past blurs with the on set of his father’s Alzheimer’s dementia.

About Robert: Robert Colman is a Newmarket, Ont.-based writer and editor. He has been involved in trade publications for the manufacturing industry for more than ten years. Colman is the author of two other full-length collections of poetry, Little Empires (Quattro Books 2012) and The Delicate Line (Exile Editions 2008), and the chapbook Factory (Frog Hollow Press 2015).

About Gold Rush: From the Klondike to an all-girls summer camp to the frontier of outer space, Gold Rush explores what it means to be a settler woman in the wilderness. Drawing on and subverting portrayals of nature from Susanna Moodie to Cheryl Strayed, Caldwell’s poems examine the tension between the violence and empowerment women have often sought and found in wild places; this is the violence young girls inflict on each other; colonial violence perpetrated by white, settler women; violence against nature itself. Many of these poems portray a climate in crisis, suggesting that even wilderness buffs are complicit in climate change. Whether they’re trekking the Chilkoot Trail, exploring the frontiers of their own bodies and desires, or navigating an unstable, unfamiliar climate, the girls and women in these poems are pioneers—in all the complexities contained by the term.

About Claire: Claire Caldwell is a writer, a children’s book editor at Annick Press, and a kids’ writing workshop facilitator. Her second poetry collection, Gold Rush, is available now from Invisible Publishing. Her debut, Invasive Species (Wolsak and Wynn), was named one of The National Post’s top five poetry books of 2014. Claire was a 2016 writer in residence at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon, and the 2013 winner of The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize. She lives in Toronto.

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