Local poet Ian Cognito is releasing his first solo book and second collection with fellow poet Pat Smekal. (Photo courtesy Denise Smekal/Cover of Animusings by Christine Earl/Cover of Much Adieu About Nothing by George Smekal)

Local poet Ian Cognito is releasing his first solo book and second collection with fellow poet Pat Smekal. (Photo courtesy Denise Smekal/Cover of Animusings by Christine Earl/Cover of Much Adieu About Nothing by George Smekal)

Nanaimo poet releases new books on nature and death

Ian Cognito presents solo book ‘Animusings’ and collaboration ‘Much Adieu About Nothing’

Wildlife and death are the two themes Nanaimo poet Ian Cognito explores in a pair of new books coming out this week.

On July 15 Cognito releases Animusings, his first book as a solo poet, and Much Adieu About Nothing, his second collaboration with local poet Pat Smekal. While Cognito has been working on the former book for two and a half years, the latter only took a month to complete.

“It’s quite a contrast that the two are coming out at the same time,” Cognito said.

The natural world has long been a source of fascination and inspiration for Cognito. As a child he collected nature magazines, explored the outdoors and was “a bit of an amateur scientist.” That interest has since carried over to his writing. He said one reason Animusings took so long to complete was the volume of nature poems he had to sift through.

“In this book I’m mostly trying to explore ideas of animal sentience, curiosities within the animal world and our own animal origins and natures,” Cognito said. “And to achieve this I alternate between whimsy satire and seriousness in the way I explore these various topics and themes.”

In Much Adieu About Nothing, Cognito and Smekal’s first collaboration since 2017’s flora, fauna, & h. sapiens, the duo explores death and dying “with elements of humour, introspection and compassion,” Cognito said.

“We have a very similar sense of humour and despite a 20-year age difference we tend to look at things through the same slightly askew perspective,” he said of their partnership. “And we both feel quite strongly that poetry should be accessible and, dare I say, even fun, although we’re not always exploring things through a humorous perspective.”

Cognito and Smekal are currently at work on their next project, an anthology on aging set to come out this fall called Old Bones and Battered Bookends. Cognito said they’ve received more than 280 submissions from 90 poets from B.C. and beyond and were “bowled over” by the response. Now they’re faced with the task of whittling that sum down.

“We’ve had a really good process and it’s just amazing how spot on we are with our evaluations of the poetry we’ve received,” Cognito said. “Not that any of it is good or bad. It’s just the ones that really resonate for each of us, it’s quite similar and that’s what it’s going to do: It’s going to reflect our personalities as much as the people that end up in the collection.”

Animusings and Much Adieu About Nothing are available at Windowseat Books, Well Read Books and from Cognito at repartee@telus.net or www.facebook.com/yancognito. Cognito will be performing an online reading as part of Port Alberni’s Words on Fire series on July 29. He will also be doing in-person readings, contact him for more information.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Books

Just Posted

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan allowing memorials to murdered pair stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Victoria police will be making numerous arrests throughout the day Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Numerous arrests today part of Victoria police #WarrantWednesday project

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

The barge sank again on Jan. 8 and is still resting under water. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Refloating of sunken Port McNeill barge to resume in early February

This will be the second attempt at recovery after poor weather conditions caused barge to re-sink

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read