Posthumous: The Rose in Winter by Canadian Poet Tanya Kern

A ‘body’ of Posthumous published writing or works. In this case Posthumous Poems: What are they really? 

Poems after death. Musings of what ‘we’ presently perceive as a ‘dead’ person’s works, yet she/he remains alive.The writer/human that wrote lives vicariously through these [posthumous] pieces/works.

An eerie ring to that phrase and esoteric. Post-humous: sounds and feels academic, boring, technical, a crafted modernist to post-modernist sensibility. The naming of a fragmented time/space unreality. Post-humous: a category and definition which demands first! then considers respect for what a writer left behind, intentionally or not. Is it for us? For whom? Is there a whom? Was there ever a who? The important question is forever in no time suspension.

The works remain. A sacred relic [body] of writings, musings, poems, unedited and often considered unfinished. This is what is left for us; what remains to decompose, to explore about ‘the deceased’ with further clarity, depth, awareness of their unique voice, of a dogma, style, technique and in larger aspect their composition. A composition that cannot be heard again–ever. The final writers’ works of possession unexposed now opened, a channel, a portal to the dead the cause of an ‘undead’ voice. The unrefined experience of a life lived; a voice, which remains with something important to have said/now say!, one that can only be asserted in death. The Posthumous publication: works the living refer to in ‘awe’ and in grief. Inevitably, these published works are steeped in the personal.

Tanya Kern commit suicide in 2010. Tanya published two books of poetry while she lived with Ekstasis Editions. Prior to her act of suicide, she intentionally left Richard Olafson a full manuscript, obviously meant to be a posthumously published one. Her written request: “You know what to do with these.” This occurred in 2010. By Spring 2013, Ekstasis launched a series of books that includes Kern’s latest work–a book titled The Rose in Winter. The cover photo, chosen by Ekstasis Editions, is a unique mandala-like drawing from the 12th century, originally created and composed by Hildegard of Bingen, though drawn by one of her scribes in her likeness and style.

I’ve read Tanya’s poems. The poems while she was alive and some of her post-humous works.  I was informed about her through Susan Musgrave. Tanya was originally from Hard Rock Northern Ontario; she later moved to British Columbia, settled in Vancouver/Vancouver Island [I think] with her 2 daughters. There she remained until her choice for an end to her experience                      of living. 

“Read these poems and celebrate and weep, for they are imbued with the terrifying authenticity of true poetry.  The poems in The Rose in Winter are not mere poetic affectations––these lines resonate with an awe-full seed, when bit into, erupt with the flavour of a dark honey, lingering long on the tongue.”–Richard Olafson

This is a woman I understand. This is a woman I know; there is an intimacy–a relating: one I never met upon reading the poems–pre and post-humous. Her work has ever been nothing less than brilliant [in my opinion] A poet in sync with a lyric and voice and a poetic that is not the stereotypical belief of a ‘weak’ or selfish woman who chooses to end living.  My grief: It is likely better for me that I did not know her physical person. Her physical essence, though I can imagine, I only know the poetic essences.

I’m praising Tanya Kern and writing about this because I believe she didn’t get enough of it in life. Isn’t that what what we do? It’s Post-humous.  I look forward to reading The Rose in Winter, Ekstasis Editions 2013.

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