Sweet Water

Poems for the Watersheds

Edited by Yvonne Blomer

Categories: Anthology, Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773860220, 256 pages, March 2020

Following on the success of Refugium, emerging and established poets illuminate the impact of humans on the world's waterways.


Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds gathers the voices of poets from across Canada, the US and the UK who write of water. Bottled, clouded, held in rain, in river, estuary and lake, sweet water is the planet's life force and the poets here examine it from every angle--the pitcher plant, the beaver and the American Bull Frog, rain, clouds, smog, the many ducks and the salmon and the last lake sturgeon. Poets take us to the rivers they live along--and grieve daily--the Peace River Canyon, Chilcotin, Taylor River, the Humber River, Millstone River, the Fraser River, and more. In Canada, the watershed runs into the Pacific, Arctic, Hudson Bay and the Atlantic. This water houses the aquatic ecosystems that feed and nurture not only the people, industries and animals on land but also drains into the world's oceans. It is part of the hydrologic cycle that begins with water evaporation to become groundwater that seeps into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. It is the water we bathe in, drink, and with which we grow our food. As it becomes more and more poisoned from industrial corporations, mining and the many, too many humans on our planet, it also becomes more and more endangered. We are paying attention. We are aware of the watershed moment that we inhabit in the twenty-first century. We know that change must come. Contributors include Kate Braid, Gary Barwin, Katherina Vermette, Arlene Pare, John Pass, Ariel Gordon, Brian Brett, Trevor Carolan, John Terpstra, Russell Thornton, Zoe Landale, Christine Lowther, Elena Johnson, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Daniela Leza, Rhonda Ganz, Geoffrey Nilson, Pamela Porter, Barbara Pelman, Kelly Shepherd, Rob Taylor, Zachariah Wells, Bren Simmers, and more.


"Stop. Slow down. Suspend time. Let your soul come to rest in this haunting book as you take a quiet journey to a watershed that someone cherishes. Sweet Water examines our relationship to water in all it forms by the best poets among us and powerfully reminds us of our dependence on this precious life force. A wonderful collection."

--Maude Barlow, activist, honourary chair of the Council of Canadians, and author of Whose Water is it Anyway: Taking Water Protection into Public Hands

“It is no secret that freshwater has become more scarce as fossil fuel industry expansion and other dangerous land use practices continue. This refreshing volume, whose pages are made possible by the same substance that allows us to live in pursuit of decolonization and other forms of justice, is essential. If these charge-sequenced poems can prompt reflection on the stuff of reflecting pools, lives and ecosystems will be richer for it.”

— Christine Leclerc, author of the long poem Oilywood (Nomados Editions, 2013)

“A few examples can only hint at what’s contained in this collection, which is bigger than the sum of its poems. The personal and the political diverge and collide again and again. The poets’ tone and words and meter and focus shift from poem to poem, adding a linguistic complexity that so admirably suits the many-faceted subject of this timely anthology.”

Island Writer magazine (18.2)

Sweet Water is a wonderful, heartfelt book with much to teach us about our relationship to fresh water, its life cycle and the threats it faces.”

The Ormsby Review

Sweet Water is a beautiful contribution to a growing body of literature on the ecological crisis, offering not only exquisite observation but deeply felt experience and clear reason for action.”

Understorey Magazine