From the Archives

A printed book is a seed, and all seeds require a landscape in order to germinate. There is a nature of language, a language of nature, that builds up the environment around us. Landscape is imminent, but it also has a history, and through a reconciling struggle in how it came to be, a symbiotic relationship between past and present can form. Here, in recontextualizing our relationship to what was and is, we find an opportunity in the detritus. Throughout this article, quotes and images from previous issues build a bridge to the current issue, and show some of the continuum of TCR, which has grown in the soil of 40+ years of struggle and experiment, collaboration, and calls-to-action.


Images from TCR issue 3.08, “Moodyville.” Dan Siney, Stump Skull 2 and Stump Skull 3, 2008, C-prints, 152 x 102cm. Courtesy the artist.

A conversation of beginnings starts in 3.01/3.02 “The Cap College Issue,” which offers a view of germination. Pierre Coupey remembers “when the first issue came out… the Acting Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, asked me if I was trying to get fired!” In response, editor Bill Schermbrucker said, “the other thing I did was to try and move [TCR] into the political scene a bit more.” These attempts to pursue art and justice as products of the same medium are foundational to what this publication strives for. Even so, there are challenges in its history that require remediation.

Through interviews in 3.35 about names and naming, discussions with Si’yam Lee Maracle, Larry Grant and Sarah Ling offer new perspectives on early growth. Grant discusses the origin of the name “Capilano,” and the history of how colonial speakers have distorted and dismissed hən̓q̓əmin̓əm words and names. TCR is no longer housed in the “College” of that name, and the relocation process over the last few years makes Bob Sherrin’s words from 3.01/3.02 even more pertinent today: TCR “has the ability, because of the way it’s evolved, to change with each editor and respect those new boundaries and still have […] a sense of historical integrity.”


Image from TCR issue 3.08, “Moodyville.” Dominion Photo Co., Dollarton Area and Sawmill, North Vancouver, 1918. Vancouver Public Library, Special Collections, [48465].

Hiromi Goto’s photographs of wild mushrooms growing on the trunks of trees in 3.35 speak to editor Sharon Thesen’s remark, also in 3.01/3.02, that “The Capilano Review has always had a post-60s West Coast aesthetic.” This coastal urge of movement from mechanical to organic, city to wild, and the tension that exists between these, echoes outwards from Maxine Gadd’s poem in 2.47 “The Six Cities,” “Maxine meets Proteus in Gastown”:


has led me lonely

to the mountain pass

all night long

The soil of today was created by composting the old, through mold and bacteria and with fungus, churning the beauty and colour of the past into nutrition for the next generation.

Image from TCR issue 3.08, “Moodyville.” Second Narrows Bridge Collapse During Construction, June 1958 Collection. North Vancouver Museum & Archives [10076].
This “Vancouver” of bricks and glass has a history of displacement. Ongoing fights to reconcile old architectures are experienced every day. Throughout the Archives the discussion about how and where and why this must be done arises again and again, as in issue 3.15, in Lisa Robertson’s poem “Duet”: “I brought the horror of the political economy into my body / and this became a style.” Or we can read the expressions of an image of displacement still present, also in Gadd’s poem:

fr a job and fr welfare

yv got to have an address at the Hung Up Inn

where the young junkies wld twist my body like this rat’s

In the ever-growing conception of a new architecture for this place, the conversation swirls towards what we are and where we are and how we got here—it is never over.

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