Places acquire resonances of words and acts.
—M. NourbeSe Philip, “Drowning Not Waving”
Fieldwork is the act of collecting information from outside. Writers and artists are practitioners of this work when they bring the audience into the detail of a place, a thought, or a community through storytelling. This issue of Room shares work by writers and artists who explore the social.
In our feature interview, poet and contemporary storyteller Marie Annharte Baker discusses her work of bringing the street vernacular of her community to her multi-genre work. She says lived experience is her “anchor” in writing, an anchor that has taken many forms over her decades of storytelling. Also pulling from lived experience, com-missioned writer M. NourbeSe Philip examines the moment her daily walking path changed forever in “Drowning Not Waving.”
But perhaps the work is invasive, unwanted, or damaging to its environment. Art by Windsor artist Alana Bartol traces the path of the pine beetle, giving us a glimpse into its work spreading a poisonous fungus through bark from chunks of Canadian firewood.