Steveston, by Daphne Marlatt and Robert Minden


by Daphne Marlatt; photographs by Robert Minden


  • Spring 2001
  • ISBN 978-0-921870-80-7
  • ebook ISBN 978-1-55380-388-1
  • PDF ISBN 978-1-55380-389-8
  • 7-3/4″ x 8-7/8″ Trade Paperback, 112 pages
  • Poetry, Photographs

Ronsdale Press offers a new edition of Steveston, this much loved work by two of Canada’s finest poets and photographers. For this edition, Daphne Marlatt has written a new poem, never before published, to offer a postscript from 2001 on the original 1974 undertaking. At the publisher’s request, Robert Minden has returned to his photographic archive bringing 9 additional images of Steveston and New Denver to light.

In addition, Marlatt and Minden have rethought their decision to interleave poems and photos, and have, instead, created two separate but connected stories — poetry and pictures that evoke their own rhythms and then speak to each other of their connections. For the first time, Minden talks about their joint project of recreating Steveston, in verse and photos, as two overlapping but distinct “folios.”

For all the newness of this edition, Steveston retains its old magic: with Marlatt’s long lines recreating the ebb and flow of the Fraser River, the sense of the two artists outside the mainly Japanese-Canadian community, but also through their art evoking the multiple layers of community, the traces and erasures of presence. As Marlatt recalls, “There was something in Steveston which drew us, over and over again, and which our work attempted to enunciate — something under the backwater quiet, the river hum of comings and goings, the traffic of work, that was ‘shouting’ at us to tell it.”

“Daphne Marlatt may be the cultural icon of a Canada perceived with critical difference. Her writing does not verify so much what we already know as it challenges us to face up to those disquieting questions that we are reluctant to confront. Hers is a vision that emerges from the recognition that language is larger than the individual writer, that the body is the threshold of the personal and the cultural, that our memories are not just our own but belong to history as well. Steveston illustrates all this admirably. No wonder it has already become a Canadian classic.” —Smaro Kamboureli

“For twenty-five years, Robert Minden has been using the still photograph as a meeting place for conversation. His portraits of Doukhobor Canadians, his intimate studies of family and friends, are monuments of Canadian photography. Steveston was the beginning, and this important body of work, now enriched with rediscovered images, illuminates a community and an approach to community that have much to tell us.” —Martha Langford, Founding Director of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography