Below is a sampling of my creative work. It pulls from three projects, both published and in process. Enjoy.
Occasioned by my move from Calgary to Vancouver in 2011, Coast Mountain Foot was written amid booms and busts through the messy perspectives of the two cities as they bleed into one another, refracting the gesture of George Bowering’s 1968 classic, Rocky Mountain Foot. Coast Mountain Foot keens its ear to the energies that connect cities, engaging with the urban and its intimacies through careful listening to ask: When the good times are all gone and it’s time for moving on, what does it mean to move forward while snared by the past?
This “vertical slice” of Coast Mountain Foot offers the three major flavours that the book interlaces. First, there are the short lined lyric poems that reflect on my own relationship to both Calgary and Vancouver as cities and as settlements as they’re undergoing constant transformation. Then, in poems like “Lord, I’m Set to Cry,” I revisit a poem I wrote in Calgary in an attempt to recalibrate it to Vancouver. Between these, dated interstitial poems capture moments from my first year in Vancouver where I sat listening to academic and community spaces crisscrossed by a very different politics than I experienced in my hometown.
Fred Wah (former Parliamentary Poet Laureate): “The lyric flux of ryan fitzpatrick’s poetry performs the ‘social intimacy’ at play when home is not a ‘static container.’ The poems pose an intimate tension questioning the spaces that fluctuate between living and working, renting and thinking, the coast and the foothills. These are neighborhood songs of the self.”
Nikki Reimer (author of My Heart is a Rose Manhattan and Downverse): “In Coast Mountain Foot, ryan fitzpatrick enacts the empathy required to imagine spaces of possible connection inside of history and outside of capital. Charting the rapacious millionaire settler class currently reshaping cities everywhere, he presents Vancouver as a history of displacement, Calgary as a history of paving over. What holds a city together when everything is monetizeable? Here in the struggle, ryan has carved out a space to sit and see each other–to form a social bond–if only for the length of a line. With great care and scathingly precise criticism, he carries the legacies of those who’ve lived and written Vancouver and Calgary before and alongside him. Writing inside/between these two cities, he questions how ownership and naming rights frame relationships. He demonstrates the powers a poet has to write and live against the forces of Big Development and Big Oil.”
Read it here
Starting with lyric statement as a point of interrogation, Fortified Castles asks what might cause retreat into the comforting walls of the self. Moving from a ticker-tape tableau of economic and environmental crisis to the difficulty of finding one another in the streets, these poems locate the Western subject between the ramparts it walks and the barricades it throws up.
The second section, “Fortified Castles,” heavily recombines found material in a lengthy serial collage composed of multiplied and impersonal personal statements that add up in unanticipated ways. “Fortified Castles” is a sequence of unresolved sonnets that heavily recombines, collages, and treats the social textures of social media. I was originally struck by the way Facebook (in its early days) asked its users to constantly perform their status. Here I turn to “I” as a shifting pronoun to think about the relationship between self and group within the individualizing pressures of neoliberalism.
Read it here
Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts in 2021.
These sections from my ongoing work files sample where my current writing is at. I have always been invested in poetry as an investigative tool, but recently I’ve become explicitly interested in the possibilities of creative research and autotheory as poetic modes. I’ve been inspired by work by Erín Moure, Paul Preciado, Saidiya Hartman, and Billy Ray Belcourt, as well as conversations with my friends and comrades Danielle LaFrance and Jordan Abel, who are both working through their own relationships to poetry as a form of research. Ace Theory/Well, Okay is a double threaded attempt to make sense of asexuality and compulsory sexuality as structural relations by thinking through intimacy, care, and isolation as things we can both theorize and dismissively quip about.
Read it here