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Breath, Like Water
Breath, Like Water

Breath, Like Water

An Anti-Colonial Romance



72 Pages, 5.5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $13.00 (US $13.00)

Publication Date: January 2022

ISBN 9781773860657

Rights: US

Caitlin Press Inc. (Jan 2022)

Price: $13.00


In Breath, Like Water, Norah Bowman blends poetry and natural history to simultaneously express a critique of colonial land ownership and celebrate the spirit of her beloved Okanagan Mountain. "Look, I come from a line of angry women. / I am not in love with mountains, or rivers, or poetry. / I am in love with Mountain." In Breath, Like Water: An Anti-Colonial Romance, the narrator, a settler-colonial hiker, grapples with her attachment to the Okanagan Mountain alongside her desire to honour the Land Back movement of Indigenous peoples and the harmful history of white colonizers. She is critical of her own role in this system, yet cognizant of the lack of power she possesses to return the land to its rightful owners. Instead she walks—hiking the Okanagan Mountain regularly, learning the rhythms of snow, heat, bears, pine trees, mule deer, and ticks—sharing its joys with lovers. In styles both experimental and familiar, a tangential narrative takes off. Sparked by a mysterious plane crash in 1950, the narrator contemplates a fire-hungry tree-people inhabiting Okanagan Mountain. Blending poetic prose with free verse, Norah Bowman weaves a narrative of magical speculation and natural history to decolonize human-nature relationships and celebrate the spirit of the mountain.

Author Biography

Norah Bowman, a settler-colonial writer originally from Texada Island, BC, is a professor of English Literature and Gender Studies at Okanagan College. Bowman has a PhD in English and film studies from the University of Alberta. Her co-authored book Amplify: Graphic Narratives of Feminist Resistance (2019) tells stories of feminist resistance and liberation movements worldwide, and her academic research focusses on unsettling colonial resource extraction. Bowman's poetry often reflects on human and non-human connections, including connections to place, water, plants, and animals.