Deirdre “Dee” Dwyer is an accomplished poet from Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia. Throughout her career, she has published three books; The Breath that Lightens the Body (1999), Going to the Eyestone (2002), and The Blomidon Logs (2016), as well as over 100 pieces of poetry in various magazines and journals since 1975.
Dwyer’s fascination for poetry began in her sixth grade English class. A lesson on Haikus influenced Dee to take up the art, which eventually lead to her work getting published before she even finished high school. She then went on to earn a Masters in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, moving to Japan soon after to teach English. Her time there lasted two years, and since returning, she has continued to teach; currently offering Creative Writing Classes at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.
Dwyer is a passionate environmentalist and volunteer in her community, having worked with various organizations over the years to maintain the beauty and culture of her hometown. This passion for her home is conveyed in her poetry, lined with references to Musquodoboit Harbour that she recalls or heard about throughout her life.
Dwyer’s poems have won multiple awards, such as the First Prize in the 1980 Atlantic Writing Competition; Second Places Prizes in the 1985 and 2012 Atlantic Writing Competitions; and Honourable Mentions in the 1994 and 1997 Short Grain Contests, as well as The Fiddlehead's 1996 Annual Writing Competition.
Circa 1890, the Bordens milled, sluiced logs down the brook. my father’s drawn it like railroad tracks with arrows–go this way, spring runoff: roar, scrape, and grind, the forest’s teeth bite into that deluge of dark juice, sludge, and mire before the lumber floats, purrs and gurgles, goes mute and is shipped out.
He’s mapped the family too: Sir Frederick and Lady B. outlived their son killed in the Boer War and daughter lost at sea.
After the fin de siècle, world weariness consumed like caviar? Horses and tight chains dragged logs to the edge, fifty foot drop–roil and crack. The boom below: premonition and echo of Europe’s Great War.
Timber, dominoes go down: Christmas 1939, he’s ten at the end of the road. Wet snow melts where he walks.
Here we might mark an X– a seed falls, a path opens–that day he studied the white breath
and muscled strain: eight teams of horse and oxen hauling a black metal animal–a boiler– up the mountain road.
They’ll build a fire under its belly so it will steam, work the steady chug of its arm at the mill. They’ll move it five times before the big forests disappear.
Here I might cut another X in hardwood if I could find some. Instead I’ll circle –think of trees he will later cultivate and tree rings, no beginning or end– the day he decided his career.
Primary Sources: Poetry Books
Dwyer, Deirdre. The Blomidon Logs. ECW Press, 2016.
---. Going to the Eyestone. Wolsak and Wynn Publishers ltd., 2002.
---. The Breath that Lightens the Body. Dundurn Press, 1999. Primary Sources: Journal Publications
Dwyer, Deirdre. “Akazome Emon Viewing the Moon from her Palace Chambers.” Exile 41.4. 2018.
---. “A Sacred Place.” Blomidon Naturalists Society Newsletter 40.3. 2013. pp. 53-54.
---. “Choreography.” Prairie Journal 60. 2013. pp. 24-25.