How Can You Live Here? (downloadable PDF)

by Tom Wayman

The poems of How Can You Live Here? respond to more than 30 years immersed in the secrets, revelations and wonders of a remote BC mountain locale. In these poems, the realities of the natural and human communities, of the contemporary rural, are frequently experienced as suffused with mystery, with magic. At the same time, the countryside is not exempt from 21st Century dystopia, including the recent pandemic. The poems insist, though, that daily life here continually engages with a beauty found in the region’s work and weather, in the sights and resounding music of a terrain, its inhabitants and its changing seasons.

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Tom Wayman

Tom Wayman’s long writing career includes more than twenty poetry collections, three collections of critical and cultural essays, three books of short fiction, and a novel. His honours include the 2022 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award and being named a Vancouver, BC literary landmark. He has worked at blue- and white-collar jobs across Canada and the US, including teaching English and Writing at both mainstream and alternative post-secondary institutions.Since 1989 he has been based in the Slocan Valley amid the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern BC, a locale reflected in many of the poems in How Can You Live Here?

Praise for Tom Wayman’s writing:

Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time (2020):
[Wayman] clearly wants to demonstrate that even if poetry cannot change the world, it can provide comfort and courage, even in times as dark as our own. … [His] poems … are as astringent and individual as human pain, and as universal as our highest hopes for a beloved community.”
—Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun

Winter’s Skin (2013):
What ties Wayman’s book together is his linking the landscape of his beloved Selkirks with the dreams of people in a less privileged world …. Passionate and lyrical by turns, didactic at others, insisting that ideals matter, that people must strive for more empathy and honesty, Wayman demands much of his readers. He leaves us, as always, with a fire in the belly and a smile on our lips.
—Sid Marty, Alberta Views