My Studio: Di Brandt

Here's me writing poetry on my computer, in my favourite studio, my backyard, in Brandon, Manitoba, on a sunny day, sitting in the dappled shade of my magical Amur cherry trees.

Here's me writing poetry on my computer, in my favourite studio, my backyard, in Brandon, Manitoba, on a sunny day, sitting in the dappled shade of my magical Amur cherry trees, in the company of noisy sparrows and robins and chickadees, and my friend Becky Chinn, who created this lovely watercolour of the afternoon. The cherry trees are magical because they were dying when I moved here, ten years ago—in response, I think, to the death of the previous owner of this house and yard, shortly before I arrived, who had planted and cared for them. But then the trees saw there was new life in the house and yard, and resurrected themselves, spectacularly, gorgeously, and have been flourishing ever since, to the delight of me and my friends, both human and bird, who have enjoyed the trees' company very much. They are called Amur cherry trees after the Amur River, one of the longest rivers in the world, which runs between China and Siberia into the Pacific Ocean. That's the Russian name for it; the Chinese name is Black Dragon River. There are still communities of shamanic indigenous communities living along the river, which is perhaps where the trees learned their inspirational talents. Or, surely it was the other way around, the shamans learned their shapeshifting talents from these amazing little trees, and the mighty river that nourished them. In the summer the trees sprout tiny, dark, bitter purple cherries, in bunches (they look like tiny chokecherries). These cherries are too bitter for human consumption, but the birds love them, and gather on an agreed upon early August morning each summer, for a delicious feast. A very poetic studio space, that connects the Canadian prairies, right here, in Dakota First Nations territory, directly to the shamanic steppes of Siberia, on an energetic level;  I'm very lucky to be able to enjoy all these riches. These formidable earth circling dimensions offer a great poetic challenge, as you can imagine.  I meditate under these trees for long hours, hoping to grow into the imaginative strength to mobilize them into poetry worthy of their resurrectionary, inspirational, life giving powers.