Standing waist deep in the massive tailing ponds of Alberta’s Tar Sands, Sunny Ways wades through the tangled complicities of climate catastrophe. In the process, the book grapples with the failure of political hope and the intransigence of climate change denialism. Fitzpatrick channels his experiences growing up in the big sky economic pragmatism of Calgary, where oil pays the rent and puts food on the table, into an essayistic pair of long poems that echo the ecological poetics of writers like Rita Wong, Stephen Collis, and Juliana Spahr.
“What we have in Sunny Ways by ryan fitzpatrick is a wonder of a book that makes strange and new the overlapping frames of the mind in an extractive culture: locally, nationally, internationally made. This is the better anthem for our petro-state, one that makes the rhetoric flow less smoothly. Sing that sand into the gears, poet.”
Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour
“In this caustic missive from life’s precipice, ryan fitzpatrick rejuvenates the storied pact of lyricism and ecology for our colonial present. Neither either/or nor neither/nor, fitzpatrick’s mordant inventorying of capitalism’s last crisis resists psychic despair and millenarian elation at once; making a refrain of negation and a torrent of its double-edged critique. In its abstentions and anathemas, essays and eddies, Sunny Ways jams its own sources as it lucidly refuses the hegemony of good cheer.”
Cam Scott, author of The Vanishing Signs
“There you are — at the edge of history, trying ‘to hum along / to some kind of reconciling melody.’ When the water levels rise, there are only islands. The ‘distance / between you and you’ and I and us are all muddled up in ‘the uneven distribution / of environmental burden.’ You try to find ‘the difference between person and population’ to wash yourself of this burden, only to find that we are all implicated in our bad efforts, our active complacency.
Yeah, no we are all responsible for our defensive reactions when faced with the reality of our complicity, but ryan fitzpatrick’s Sunny Ways reorients oppositional points of language, negates affirmation, exposes the internal contradictions of our ecologically disinclined economics. fitzpatrick brings you in and out of yourself, criss-crossing your feeble desires with those of extractive industries. You long for a song to ease your trepidations about the future, but you are already in that future, and the song has long been forgotten.”
Anahita Jamali Rad, author of Still