Lorna Crozier’s creative contributions to The Wild in You happened by chance.
The Governor General’s Award-winning poet from Saanich had been invited to go to the Great Bear Rainforest last fall to write a travel piece for the online magazine Touque & Canoe. Through the magazine’s editor, she was introduced to photographer, conservationist and Great Bear Rainforest resident Ian McAllister.
The editor suggested the two might collaborate on a book.
“I can’t write poems to order, and Ian’s a very busy person, so I didn’t have much hope that it would happen,” Crozier said.
But the pair clicked, and the book began to take shape. The result, published by Greystone Books, is a volume of McAllister’s photos matched with Crozier’s
poems. The cause of celebrating nature motivated her, she said.
Crozier said the book has given her the opportunity to put “my mouth and my pen” toward something she holds dear.
“I’ve always been someone who believes very strongly that we have to do what we can to save what little is left of our planet for other species,” she said.
Crozier said she was honoured to work with McAllister.
“He’s doing everything within the power of one human being to have a sanctuary for whales and grizzlies and wolves and salmon. And I get to be part of it.”
Inspiration was everywhere in the rainforest, Crozier said. At the time she was there, the salmon spawn was just about done.
“So the air was just full of life and death coming together at the same time in this marvellous, wild place where I had certainly never been before.”
Crozier said she had the experience of seeing her first grizzly in the wild, mere feet away. Efforts to spot a spirit bear — a black bear with a rare genetic trait that gives it white fur — were fruitless, but the experience was wonderful, she said.
“We must have spent six hours just getting wet, sitting on wet moss under the dripping trees. It was all worth it. Just sitting amongst those trees, you had a palpable sense of the bears having been there and they would be there again, perhaps within minutes after you’d gone.”
Crozier would like the book to have broad appeal.
“I’m hoping that people who have stayed away from poetry might take the risk and actually look at this book and get this book because of Ian’s thrilling photographs, that then maybe they’ll see that poetry can speak clearly and humbly to them.”