Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Spring in Elsinore

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In the beginning of Spring I often think of the very beginning of Hamlet:

SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.

FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO

Who's there?

Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.

It’s the “stand and unfold yourself” that comes to mind when I move into the warmth of spring light after living for months among the shallow angles of winter sun. The increasing steepness of sunlight through spring and summer, the tendency—of plants, of animals, of people—to unfold to follow those angles is visible now on the streets of Toronto. Bodies linger, frolic, bask, grow; they manifest relief and joy and pleasure, and at times, the pain of redirecting an instinctive falling inward into an unfolding outward. When I’m walking down the street, I see bodies gesturally articulating an erotics of spring light. An unfolding that’s chemical, instinctive, emotional, mindful. Perhaps our thoughts incline gradually or steepen with the season; perhaps our feelings disperse or concentrate depending on the sun’s distance from the earth.

What I love about this “stand and unfold yourself” feeling as an imperative of spring light is that it demonstrates how different modes of embodiment (vegetative, animal, neurological, behavioural, emotional, seasonal) co-occur in tangled or hybrid webs in bodies across kingdoms and species. And it makes for deeply pleasurable Saturday afternoons in the park.

1 comment

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The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Julie Joosten

Julie Joosten is originally from Georgia but now lives in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Program and a PhD from Cornell University. Her poems and reviews can be read in like starlings, Lemon Hound, Lit, Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, the Malahat Review and The Fiddlehead. She recently guest edited an issue of BafterC, a journal of contemporary poetry. Her first book, Light Light, was shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and the 2014 Goldie Award.

You can reach Julie throughout the month of April at

Go to Julie Joosten’s Author Page