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This article was published 24/4/2016 (2263 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

National Poetry Month: Lauren Carter reads Swamp Fire (1862)



Swamp Fire (1862)


Black trees buckled

in an odd alphabet, still


smouldering. Smoke

stings my eyes, coals


crushed underfoot

like acorn caps


in autumn. What

was here, gone,



to a new



a hollowed map.


Our house a fallen

effort, its embers


soldering my 

leaden skirts.


"Swamp Fire (1862)" is from a collection called Migration, which follows my great-great-grandparents' movements from Ontario’s Niagara region north to Manitoulin Island. They were among the first white settlers to establish the villages of Malta and Port Bruce, on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, in the 1850s. In 1862, a swamp fire devastated the village and they did not rebuild but, instead, continued their migration deeper into the bush.


Lauren Carter is the author of Swarm, named one of CBC’s Top 40 books that could change Canada, as well as Lichen Bright, a poetry collection. She has recently completed Migration, a collection of poems exploring ancestry, relocation and infertility, a selection of which was long-listed for the CBC Literary Prizes and won first prize in the Room 2014 Poetry competition. Currently, she's at work on two novels and a short story collection while working as a creativity coach in The Pas, Manitoba. Visit www.laurencarter.ca 


The Winnipeg Free Press will be running poems by Manitoba poets every weekday in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. The NPM in the WFP Project was edited by Ariel Gordon.