Flicker Tree, The: Okanagan Poems

The Flicker Tree

Okanagan Poems

by Nancy Holmes


  • September 2012
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-183-2
  • ebook ISBN 978-1-55380-184-9
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 100 pp
  • Poetry

How do we learn to be where we live? How can a 21st-century mind, saturated with the culture and metaphors of contemporary life, connect to the natural world that surrounds us? In Nancy Holmes’ new book of poetry, these questions are asked of her home, the Okanagan valley in the southern interior of British Columbia. In these poems, as Holmes comes to terms with personal grief, she tries to find consolation in the place she shares with other beings. Holmes’ poetry looks for relationships with the prickly pear cacti, bluebunch wheatgrass, the black bears, the coyotes, and the northern flickers. She seeks to embed herself in the geography and consciousness of this arid Western landscape, one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada, a landscape of great beauty and spiritual power with its volcanic glaciated mountains and fragile long lakes. The result is poetry that is both elegiac and humorous, with a vision often skewed by the lenses of mass media, anxiety, and the obsessions of the contemporary world. Sometimes disturbed and questioning, sometimes delighted and awed, sometimes troubled by the history of settlers and indigenous peoples, the poems explore our complicity in the destruction of, and our love for, the wild animals, plants, and places around us.

Other books by Nancy Holmes:

Reviews & Awards

Shortlisted for the 2013 Raymond Souster Award by the League of Canadian Poets.

“[Holmes’] poetry teases out the delicate connections between flora and fauna, and all in reference to her particular place, the Okanagan valley. The title poem has us stop, listen, and plug in to the immense energy and surprising messages that come from all around us.” – Literary Press Group

“[The Flicker Tree has] moments of hilarity, passages that will break your heart, and a consistent voice of reason tinged with beauty. . . This sort of poetic wit, intelligence and splendour is a rare combination.” – Michael Dennis

“Despite foregoing the ‘fields. . .pruned into harps / and forks’ in order to peer ‘in wild spots’ (“Song and Sustenance”), the Romantic impulse to connect self to nature persists. . . . For though Holmes, like the Romantics, may see the aesthetic value in ruin—’the woods are grazed and thin, / wrecked with beautiful litter'(“Earth Star”)—she also joins in their lament for a damaged world.” – Arc Magazine, Lise Gaston