The Vivian Poems

The Vivian Poems

by Bruce Rice

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These poems peel back the layers of suburban life and the American Dream. Vivian Maier was a self-taught street photographer who worked as a nanny for wealthy employers in New York and Chicago. The poet imagines her as a documentarian who is compassionate, abrasive, and meditative, while her subjects provide their own narrative. More than anything, the poems are a response to her work, which is all we have that comes directly from her. It is a deliberate challenge to the “mystery nanny” she is reduced to in much of the constructed narrative of her life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781989274316
Publisher: Radiant Press
Publication date: 04/15/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 720 KB

About the Author

Bruce Rice is a writer and editor living in Regina. He writes about community, reclaiming the voices of those who live on the margins, and how we are transformed by landscape even as we leave our footprints on it. He has five award-winning books of poetry. He received his second Saskatchewan Book Award for his most recent collection, The Trouble With Beauty (Coteau). In 2019 he was appointed to a two-year term as the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate.

Table of Contents

Vivian Writes Her Own Prologue

Making a Spy 6

Part I Necessary Questions

A slip of paper in a stack of self-portraits 12

A Necessary Question 13

Human River 17

Return to saint-bonnet 25

Smile 27

Pigeon Boy 31

On the Idiolect of V 32

Speaking of Shadows 34

Part II Nothing Wasted

The children (untitled) 37

Let me explain about legs 38

3:00 PM in a Quiet Station 43

Somewhere 44

To Her Young Charges 46

Nothing Wasted 47

Maxwell Street: Letters from a Bazaar 49

Caught at last / the rain (untitled) 54

Part III 1968

After the riot 62

Robert Kennedy 65

Watching Us 67

Part IV The Super 8 Films of Vivian Maier

They Could Be Vivian 72

Film 1 Mystery Mink Coat Woman 72

Film 2 Woman With Shopping Bags 73

Film 3 Camera Boy, Incident Girl 74

Film 4 Tornado Woman 76

Film 5 Slide Girls 78

Film 6 Gatherer 80

Film 7 Stock Yard Girl 81

Film 8 The West Ardmore Girl 83

Film 9 Citizenship Day Parade Assembly Area 85

Part V Walking Through

A boy in the branches 88

Twins, Florida 89

Scene at the Beach 90

Undersea Restaurant 91

Pluviophile 92

Three Windows 93

Winter View from an Elevated Train 95

Proofs of Winter 96

To the 12,000 Unmarked Graves Under Lincoln Park 98

Under the Sassafras 100

Epilogue: Intestate 101


What I Know About Vivian 105

Notes 117

Selected Bibliography 120

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