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Neile Graham

Joseph Powell

The Walk She Takes

Neile Graham’s paternal grandparents met on the ship as they immigrated from Scotland to Canada, and her maternal grandfather was also born in Scotland, though her maternal grandmother was of Sassenach (English) heritage. She herself was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and grew up in Victoria, B.C. Educated at the universities of Victoria and Montana, she works at the College of Built Environments of the University of Washington and lives in Seattle, but has visited her ancestral home frequently. She is also a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop for writers of speculative fiction and served as its workshop administrator, then as workshop director.

Her poetry, short fiction, reviews, and nonfiction have been published in American, British, and Canadian literary journals and anthologies. She has three previous collections: Seven Robins; Spells for Clear Vision, which was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for the best book of poems by a Canadian woman; Blood Memory; and a selection of spoken word recordings, She Says: Poems Selected and New.

She has appeared at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival and served as Writer-in-Residence for the Virginia Highlands Arts Festival, and her work has been supported by grants from the Canada Council, Artist Trust, and the Seattle, King County, and Washington State arts commissions. She won Arc magazine’s Confederation Poets Prize, placed third in the League of Canadian Poets’ National Poetry Contest, and has been nominated multiple times for the Rhysling Award and Arc’s Poem of the Year contest. Her work has also been included in Chizine’s Imaginarium series of the best of Canadian speculative fiction and poetry. In 2017 she won the World Fantasy Award, Special Award Non-Professional “for fostering excellence in the genre through her role as Workshop Director, Clarion West.”

See Neile's web site for more information.

The Walk She Takes: $16.00

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Poem from The Walk She Takes

Kilchurn Castle Picturesque

Rough waters: steel-blue, white-capped
like the clouds above. Low hills raise the sky,
shade up to hunter green, sage green,
then misty mountain blue. A storybook view
across the loch to where Kilchurn nestles at its edge
etched out against the loch like a hill itself.
Closer, and towers define themselves,
windows yaw and gape,
chimneys dagger a path to the sky.

Above the doorway: 1693 and crowns. A shield.
Ropes twined like snakes and Celtic knottery.
We climb and duck. I pose,
surprised in an archway. A fallen turret
the plinth for a statue my now-dead father becomes,
my mother laughing at us, she who now
has forgotten her life. In my camera Kilchurn’s light
sears this instant into history, true beauty:
grey stone and a span of grace.