And See What Happens

The Journey Poems

By Ursula Vaira

Categories: Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781894759588, March 2011


In her first book of poetry, Ursula Vaira captures the rugged and challenging beauty of the West Coast landscape in three poignant stories.

The first, told through a set of linked poems, describes her thirty-day, thousand-mile paddle from Hazelton to Victoria with skipper Roy Henry Vickers. "Journeys 97" was an RCMP-First Nations venture to raise addictions awareness and to offer on opportunity for the government to apologize for their role in the legacy of the residential schools. Vaira bears witness.

'A heck of a wind/ bounces me into the mountains'...So begins the second poem, "Frog River," the story of a woman's stay in an isolated hunter's cabin 129 km north of Muncho Lake in the northern Rockies. She is not sure whether she has left her lover or just left him behind, whether love is more dangerous than anything she might encounter in the wilderness.

"Last One to Get There," the third and final journey in Vaira's new collection, is a poem of place, of landscape and of West Coast imagery from a twenty-two-day kayaking journey that rounded Cape Scott and Cape Cook on Vancouver Island.

Lorna Crozier has called these poems "talismans of grace, beauty and healing." In And See What Happens, Ursula Vaira writes the poetry of three transformative journeys in British Columbia's wilderness.


"John Berger writes that poetry is closer to prayer than it is to prose. These poems are proof of that. Without shirking the shameful history of the province, they become talismans of grace, beauty and healing. Go on this journey with Ursula Vaira. You’ll find yourself falling into the sky."

--Lorna Crozier

"To share the three journeys of this volume of poems with Ursula Vaira is a rare treat indeed … 'A stone softened in the mouth/will speak,' Vaira tells us. Her poems are as eloquent as softened stones."

—Glen Sorestad