In the Fall of 2018, the Small Walker Press invited poet Adam Dickinson and artist Lorène Bourgeois to walk through a former landfill (1976-2001), the Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site. Located on the Niagara Escarpment, overlooking the City of St. Catharines, Ontario, it functions today as a public recreation area.
Its landscape still resembles a raw, industrialized version of nature, eerie and ominous in its windswept hills. The ground is punctuated by prickly vegetation providing beautiful flowers in the summer months, and rocks, from pebbles and gravel to larger boulders. A constructed landscape, it is perceived as rationally managed nature. Indeed, there is something decidedly unnatural about this carefully designed space where layers of clay and soil have been deposited and vegetation native to the area planted with the aim of naturalizing the landfill. Along the paths, visitors will also notice the small mechanical vents of a gas collection system from which escape acrid odours produced by decomposing waste under the harmonious scenery. As a result of their walk together, Adam Dickinson contributes a poem about childhood reminiscences and the dreamy yet familiar realm where they belong, while Lorène Bourgeois revisits some of her earlier drawings and presents them anew in a sequence whose rhythm is inspired by photographs she made of the Glenridge Quarry.
Adam Dickinson’s poetry focuses primarily on intersections between poetry and science as a way of exploring new ecocritical perspectives and alternative modes of poetic composition. He is the author of Cartography and Walking (2002), Kingdom, Phylum (2006), The Polymers (2013), and Anatomic (2018). Lorène Bourgeois’ recent works are large-scale representations of humans, animals, clothing and nakedness. She draws her sources from public archives and museum artefacts, as well as from her contact with the world around her. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally, and is held in numerous collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto.