Blue Portugal and Other Essays
Using the richness of braided essays, Theresa Kishkan thinks deeply about the natural world, mourns and celebrates the aging body, gently contests recorded history, and considers art and visual phenomena. Gathering personal genealogies, medical histories, and early land surveys together with insights from music, colour theory, horticulture, and textile production, Kishkan weaves a pattern of richly textured threads, welcoming readers to share her intellectual and emotional preoccupations. With an intimate awareness of place and time, a deep sensitivity to family, and a poetic delight in travel, local food and wine, and dogs, Blue Portugal and Other Essays offers up a sense of wonder at the interconnectedness of all things.About the Book:•Braided essays about the natural world, aging bodies, family histories, and art and visual phenomenon.•In these interconnected essays, you will float down rivers, explore old maps with news of family history, listen to Bach, sew stars onto indigo fabric, mourn and celebrate the aging body, and tap your toes to the Supremes as the table is laid for a summer feast.•Gathering personal genealogies, medical histories, and early land surveys together with the liminal spaces of memory and insights from music, colour theory, horticulture, and textile production, Kishkan weaves patterns and dangles loose threads, welcoming readers to share her intellectual and emotional preoccupations.•The title essay recalls a wine she first drank in her grandmother's homeland; another dances with memories of mothering and the structure of Bach's Partita No. 2 for solo violin. •With an intimate awareness of place and time, a deep sensitivity to family, and a poetic delight in travel, local food and wine, and dogs, Blue Portugal and Other Essays offers up a sense of wonder at the interconnectedness of all things.•Author website: https://theresakishkan.com.About the Author:Theresa Kishkan was born in Victoria, BC and has lived on both coasts of Canada as well as in Greece, England, and Ireland. She now makes her home on the Sechelt Peninsula in British Columbia. She has published more than a dozen books, including poetry, fiction, and collections of essays. Her books have been nominated for many awards, including the Hubert Evans Award and the Ethel Wilson Prize. Kishkan's interests include natural history, ethnobotany, textiles, and music. Together with her husband, she operates a small private press, High Ground Press, printing broadsheets.Audience:People who know Kishkan's work already (she has a devoted readership), lovers of the literary essay, people interested in place and history, people attempting to discover their own family stories, readers who hope for one thing (information about indigo or Ukraine or Dante) but discover in her writing something else entirely! Her work is often taught as individual essays and whole books.
About the Author
Theresa Kishkan lives on the Sechelt Peninsula in British Columbia. She has published more than a dozen books, including poetry, fiction, and collections of essays.
"...Kishkan's writing is lyrical and free-ranging, a true pleasure to read.... In Blue Portugal the essays' themes are allowed to slip their boundaries; a topic addressed in one essay recurs in later essays, a recognition, perhaps, that thoughts and interests develop over time, shifting slightly as they are put in the company of other thoughts, are seen from different perspectives. The essays in Blue Portugal seem to talk to each other; they interlace in interesting and thought-provoking ways. The book is a fine example of the personal essay at its best." Michael Hayward, The British Columbia Review, August 2, 2022 [Full review at https://thebcreview.ca/2022/08/02/1533-hayward-kishkan]"Kishkan is a prolific, perceptive and gifted writer. Never forgetting her poetic roots, her mind works metaphorically—linking disparate but connectable things in revealing ways. Blue Portugal and Other Essays is a book to be savoured" Gene Walz, Winnipeg Free Press, August 13, 2022 [Full review at https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/books/2022/08/13/lyrical-essays-bring-musings-on-family-travel-and-more]"Rivers meander but with purpose. So too do the ten loosely connected pieces that make up Theresa Kishkan's Blue Portugal and Other Essays. These elegantly braided essays reveal a lifetime of curiosity and contemplation in ways that invite the reader to come along. Blue Portugal and Other Essays is part of the University of Alberta Press's literary travel series, Wayfarer—and a poetic journey very much worth booking." Literary Review of Canada, September 2022"Much pleasure awaits the reader of Blue Portugal, Theresa Kishkan's collection of ten essays that sing individually and re-engage with each other throughout the volume. It is not simply a matter of rebounding colours among 'The Blue Etymologies,' 'Blue Portugal,' and 'Blueprints,' nor the recurrence of journeys dark and light; rather, Kishkan's poetic phrasing and rhythms thread these braided essays with originality of perception, reflection, and a lyric sensibility." Michael Greenstein, Miramichi Reader, September 3, 2022 [Full review at https://miramichireader.ca/2022/09/blue-portugal-by-theresa-kishkan/]"To those of us who've been following Theresa Kishkan on her blog for many years, the preoccupations of her latest book, the collection Blue Portugal & Other Essays, will be familiar, the quilts, the homesteads, the memories, the blue. But it's the stunning craftsmanship of the book, the fascinating threads that weave the pieces together and also recur throughout the text, that make this book such a pleasure to discover. " Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This, September 9, 2022"...[with openness,] Theresa Kishkan, a poet-cum-essayist, tackles the many subjects that make up her new collection: rivers she has known and loved, age-old methods of dyeing textiles, medical problems, the inspiration to be found in Dante, the joy of antique buttons.... Our enjoyment of essays, I believe, depends very much on our sense of the person behind the pen, and Kishkan's sensibility is an appealing one." Merna Summers, Alberta Views, December 1, 2022 [Full review at https://albertaviews.ca/blue-portugal-essays]"Kishkan's writing in this collection will be enjoyed by those who appreciate a particular poetics of contemporary creative nonfiction, one that is fragmented, interlaced with visual images, possibly experimental and hybrid in style. It will be equally enjoyed by those who like watching rivers, listening to Janáček, travelling by train, and drinking wine!" Martina Horáková, Central European Journal of Canadian Studies, 2022
"Kishkan's lyrical essays glow with the generosity and poetic grace of a richly perceptive mind. Blue Portugal and Other Essays explores natural and human histories, the veins and rivers of then and now, with fierce and tender insight. An overnight train, a weathered rock, a button, a blueprint, the complications of the human heart—all rendered in beautiful prose." Lorri Neilsen Glenn, author of Following the River: Traces of Red River Women"Phantom places resonant with mysterious meaning, dreamy hauntings from half-remembered lives, revenant landscapes fragmented in the prism of memory; the living, the dead; rivers as the veins of life and veins as the rivers of being; migrations through time, geography, and experience; a husband and wife reading Dante's Inferno to each another by firelight and the machinery of medical technology delivering readings from Cancerland—this is just a marvellous book. Theresa Kishkan is amazing." Stephen Hume, author of A Walk with the Rainy Sisters"Blue Portugal and Other Essays is forget-me-not powerful, small sparking essays building and building to cacophonies of bright brilliance. Be prepared to be cracked (Crack. CRACK) wide open—raw, vulnerable and moved: you'll then be carefully knitted and quilted back into a transformed whole. Such is the skill of Kishkan's literary craft: she narrates entire, and stunningly well-researched, universes. From the intimately domestic and inner to the bountiful global and beyond, Kishkan takes you by the hand and the heart. She walks with you through her worded worlds and gently restores you back into a revisioned life, days and places you'll never see quite the same way ever again. Gently profound. Richly delicate. Therapeutic and needed." Sarah de Leeuw, author of Where It Hurts
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