Below is a sampling of my creative work, both published and in process.
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
“Hibernia Mon Amour” (from Sunny Ways):
“Hibernia Mon Amour” is the opening poem from my forthcoming book Sunny Ways, which interrogates climate denialism. It was originally commissioned by Daniel Zomparelli and Poetry is Dead magazine to coincide with an exhibition of Edward Burtynsky’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I was struck by the ways Burtynsky’s massively scaled photographs of the Alberta Tar Sands differed from a different set of photographs appearing on Instagram at the same time under the hashtag #myhiroshima. The hashtag was used by Fort McMurray residents after Neil Young compared the Alberta Tar Sands to the effects of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima, Japan at the end of World War II. The hashtagged photos shared scenic natural views, keeping any work sites or toxic sinks safely out of frame. The poem was performed at the VAG on April 22, 2014 alongside Jordan Abel, Amy De’Ath, and Rita Wong. It was subsequently published as part of a Poetry is Dead issue on the future in 2014.
Read it here
“A Few Notes on Intimacy” (from Ace Theory)
This short section of my longer creative nonfiction manuscript Ace Theory was published in the Summer 2022 issue of The Capilano Review. “Some Notes on Intimacy” poetically reflects on the problem of intimacy as part of a larger discussion of asexual erotics.
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