Among the Untamed (Downloadable PDF)

by dee Hobsbawn-Smith

By turns angry, powerful, visceral, evocative, and ultimately hopeful, this modern retelling of Joan of Arc in linked poems casts her as a prairie-born Jeanne Dark. In tough, tender lyrical language filled with imagery and magic, the protagonist explores sexual politics, feminism, gender identity, and how we make meaning of life.

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Additional information

dee Hobsbawn-Smith

dee’s award-winning poetry, novels, short stories, and essays are sometimes influenced by her background as a chef and local foods advocate. She lives and works west of Saskatoon, where she served as the Saskatoon Public Library’s 35th Writer in Residence, and earned her MFA in Writing and MA in English.

​Jeanne Dark’s full disclosure: a haibun

i. Too young to worry when the blacksmith heated the torch for the first time. Stop it, she wanted to shriek with the calves at branding, STOP IT NOW. But she closed her mouth around his cock and swallowed. First mistake. The next: caught in the forge, cozened like a filly without protest. Wanting to soften his hand on the hammer, she told herself she let him.

New moon honours loss – mourns early vernal blood-flow you the willing lamb

ii. Decades later she learned how touch pays tribute to obsession. A voice in the dark. Escarpment of knees, hands, ribcage. And footprints on the wall afterwards, smeared oil marking her climb. Heat surging. His birdlike half-dance, courting her. Walking to the outhouse naked, aware he watched through the jungle garden, cedars, unkempt rhododendrons, blackberry brambles, bamboo. They snatched days and weeks, rarely slept, talked by the half-lit moon, breakers crashing beyond the window while the list of what they didn’t discuss grew longer. In the end, even poetry radiated the energy of verboten. All they had was fire. All that’s left is ash. She writes letters sporadically, as if to a benevolent uncle, of dogs cats weather lakes meals friends makings. The verboten list longer now.

Island’s new moon tide – berries crushed beneath your hip words grit    fallen ash