Roewan Crowe’s compelling and haunting literary debut, Quivering Land, is a rather queer Western, engaging with poetics and politics to reckon with the legacies of violence and colonization in the West.

Written in a sparse style, this lonely, sometimes brutal book invites the reader on a powerful journey with Clem, Violet, and a dead girl in a red dress. Clem, a lone cowboy, caught in the inevitable violence of the Western, compulsively rides through ghost towns and Monument Valley. Violet is an artist who pulls dead bodies, guns, and memory into her studio, immersing herself in a creative process, seeking to understand the relationships among aggression, vulnerability and the imagination. Disrupting the story are the ghostly visitations of a dead child who travels the western landscape unsettling romanticized, filmic images of Monument Valley.

Interspersed in the text are fragile, beautiful images painstakingly cut from paper, created by artist Paul Robles. This experimental long poem, a gritty feminist meditation on trauma, violence and the possibilities of art, is as powerful as a Smith and Wesson Schofield rifle.

Part of our Literary Collection.

Subject Gay and Lesbian Poetry, Art and Politics, Westerns
Published October 2013
Price $19.95 CDN
Pages 184 pp (Paper)
Dimensions 6″ × 8.5″ × .38″
ISBN-10 18984037901
ISBN-13 9781894037907

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Reviews

  • Kerry Ryan, in Herizons writes:

    Crowe’s language is spare, stripped clean and sun-bleached as a skull in the desert…. As an object, Quivering Land is a stunning piece of art… Much care has been taken in the design of the book; the lines breathe easily on bright white paper. It is a pleasure to hold and read…. This collection has raw energy and, fittingly, a cinematic approach to storytelling.

  • Shannon Webb-Campbell, in Telegraph Journal writes:

    Roewan Crowe’s debut long poem Quivering Land wrangles up violence and trauma in the lasso of a queer Western. Juxtaposed with visual artist Paul Robles’ gorgeous paper-cut images of birds, guns, cowboy hats, and horses, these poems conjure memory, old Hollywood westerns, devastation, and the colonization of the west.

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About the Author

Artist and theorist Roewan Crowe is energized by acts of disruption, transformation and the tactical deployment of self-reflexivity. She has a particular interest in wounded landscapes and questioning what it means to be a queer, feminist settler living in Winnipeg/Turtle Island. Recent work includes: digShift (ongoing), a decolonizing and environmental reclamation project using site specific performance and multichannel installation to explore the shifting layers of at an abandoned gas station; and Queer Grit, a stop-motion animation that asks, “how can you be Queer on the prairies when your dad is John Wayne?” Her scholarly work seeks to open meaningful encounters with art and explore new feminist art practices. Her longstanding community practice is concerned with building engaged feminist/queer/artist communities, and in addressing the reality of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada. She is an Associate Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Winnipeg and Co-Director of The Institute for Women’s & Gender Studies.

Contributors

Paul Robles is a Canadian artist based in Winnipeg. Born in the Philippines, he immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of four. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Manitoba and Bachelor of Arts degree (Sociology) from the University of Winnipeg. Paul has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Outpost Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Malaspina, Vancouver: The New Gallery, Calgary: Rideau Hall (Governor General Selected), Ottawa; Doris McCarthy Gallery, Toronto; as well as Plug In ICA and The Winnipeg Art Gallery. His work has been featured as a CBC ArtSpots and has appeared in Border Crossings, The Globe and Mail, and Walrus. In 2011, Robles was showcased as part of ART Paris in the Grand Palais; in “My Winnipeg” group exhibition in Paris and Sete, France; at the Drake Hotel in Toronto; and at Julia Saul Gallery in New York City.