To This Cedar Fountain


108 pages
ISBN 1-896095-08-9
DDC C811'.54





Illustrations by Emily Carr
Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is a professor of English at Laurentian University.


Covering Rough Ground, Kate Braid’s first book, explores her life as a
carpenter. In To This Cedar Fountain Braid attempts to broaden her field
of interest by including in her meditations Emily Carr and her work.

The book includes color reproductions of eight of Carr’s paintings,
excerpts from her Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of an Artist, and
Braid’s poems. The poems are intended to interact with Carr’s words
and images in various ways. As the following examples illustrate, there
is an imbalance in the Carr/Braid juxtapositions. Carr: “There is a
cold, mysterious wonder amid the trees. They are not so densely packed
but that you can pass in imagination among them, wonder what mysteries
lie in their quiet fastness, what creeping living things, what
God-filled spaces totally untrod, what voices in an unknown tongue.”
And Braid’s “Wood Interior”: “Here it is, earlier still. / Such
a naive picture, / with all the parts we recognize / bark leaves
branches / green in its place. // But even this early / your spirit
stares / and sees what is between the trees / joining them. / A space /
any carpenter would understand. / It is the reason we build things. /
Looks like air to some, / fresh breeze, a touch of chill / or fog. / It
is the spirit of the tree. // Now I know who you are. / Another woman
who knows wood.”

The gulf between the two women’s writing emphasizes their remoteness
from each other; as hard as she tries, Braid does not manage to
construct out of Carr’s work a platform from which to speak.


Braid, Kate., “To This Cedar Fountain,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,