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Image by Alexander Ant

Arts Almanac

by Jennifer Brant

I am reading a book called Thirty-two Words for Field (2020) by Irish writer Manchán Magan. It is a poignant book, excavating “lost words of the Irish landscape” and showing how language that is tied to the natural world can offer a different way of seeing, and of being in relationship with place. My great-grandfather was from Galway, Ireland and my MFA thesis was about finding kinship with the other-than-human world. The idea that this kinship could be embedded in a familial language really excites me.


t is a rich book, tying Irish to Arabic and Sanskrit and lamenting the colonial stronghold and forced Christianity that made Irish the endangered language that it is today. However, it is the power of poetry and sound that live at the heart of this book. Magan points to the origins of Irish words as pure sound meant to transform the landscape. Druids and poets “used the power of sound to affect bodies and surroundings”. He talks about the resonance and frequencies of ancient cairns and caves; he also discusses archeological research and the measurable effects that singing in these spaces had on seeds. Corresponding lab tests have shown that electromagnetic variance influences productivity and viability, activating the seeds before they are planted.


Poetry and storytelling, even in the more pragmatic, less connected English language, have the power to resonate deeply. When we gather at Arts Fest and listen to one of our island poets read their work, the sounds that underlie the words change the air around us. They affect us in a way that only the spoken (or sung) word can. Not only can we derive meaning from the thoughtfully chosen words, but we can close our eyes and let the sound connect us on deeper levels than comprehension allows. Different frequencies can affect the way we perceive the world. We can be transported through portals and experience a kind of genius loci, the spirit of place. Language, particularly the language(s) of origin in any landscape, can facilitate access to relationship and kinship.


So, if you are curious, consider reciting poems to yourself or others and coming out to listen to poets and storytellers. You might learn some words of the original language where you are and speak them to the trees. Or you could try singing to your seeds at 110 hertz. Your garden might just grow better than ever. – Jennifer Brant

Arts Council Update


The Arts Council together with XLAP are supporting the creation of a welcome mural on the Lasqueti dock that reflects the deep-time ecological and cultural history of the island. The mural is being co-created by local artists Julia Woldmo and Sophia Rosenberg and Qualicum First Nations artist Jesse Recalma and will incorporate painted and carved elements.

Stay tuned for more details!


For everyone who has been asking if there will be an Arts Festival this year, the answer is YES! Mark July 5-6th on your calendars. If you want to be involved with the planning and execution, please come to the Arts Center on Thursday April 18th at 4pm to participate in the envisioning process. We want to revitalize the Festival, give it some new pizzazz, include more on-site art making. For this we need your ideas, energy and committed volunteer time. There are perks to being a volunteer, including free admission as well as being part of making a big, awesome community celebration of the arts happen.

- On behalf of Jennifer B, Julia W, JennyV, and Faren W

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