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Vernon woman publishes first collection of poems

A book launch for Michelle Doege’s Root of Light will take place at the Vernon museum Feb. 11
Vernon poet Michelle Doege is launching her first poetry collection, Root of Light, at the Museum and Archives of Greater Vernon Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. (Submitted photo)

A Vernon writer’s newly released book of poems is coming to light.

Michelle Doege’s migration from the U.S. to Canada with her same sex partner propelled her to write poems about border crossings and finding one’s roots in a new land.

The result is her newly released book of poems, Root of Light, which will be launched at the Museum and Archives of Vernon Saturday, Feb. 11. Alongside special guests, Doege will read from her book at 3 p.m.

“Unless we are the First Peoples of this land, our ancestors migrated across oceans for us to be here. Most of our families share a common migratory experience,” said Doege.

It was her own relocation that caused her to reflect on her ancestors who left Germany and Ireland long ago. Through her poetry, Doege also reflects on the many people who cross borders today — often in more treacherous circumstances than her own journey — in search of home.

While living in B.C., trees began to populate her poems — the deep roots of her ancestors, the solid oak of her father, or the fiery greening of her lesbian love.

Poet Heid Erdrich says Doege’s poems “cause us to consider how the shape of a tree can shape [our] own thinking about relationship, partnership, and the people who make up our homes, the places that give us roots.”

“We cross over borders in our lives all the time,” adds Doege. “Something significant changes, and we wake up in a new life. We graduate college and get our first professional job, we get married or have a child, or we experience a significant loss that leaves us altered.”

One section of Root of Light touches upon Doege’s relationship with her father, who the book is dedicated to. It highlights the final days of helping him cross over from life into the unknown.

Doege says the world needs poetry now more than ever where “the threads of our common humanity shine through in the beauty of our song, our words.

“In this time of divisiveness, it just might be our stories and our poems that save us, help us to build our connection, one to another.”

Doege has been writing, teaching and facilitating poetry workshops in the Okanagan for the past 10 years. Root of Light is her first published poetry collection. She is also a contributing author to Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women, and was shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Constance Rooke Creative Non-Fiction Prize for her short story, Siva’s Fire.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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