Prose and poetry of Ann Elizabeth Carson reflect themes of aging and memory

ANN ELIZABETH CARSON

Lyricism and memory define the professional and artistic endeavours of writer, poet and sculptor Ann Elizabeth Carson. She has devoted her career as a psychotherapist to understanding the silenced voices in our society, and her work as writer and artist to giving them voices.

Over 20 years ago, Ann happened on Oake’s Cottages on Lake Mindemoya. The place, the people, and the setting lend itself to contemplation and creativity and have provided her a consistent creative space to return to each year. “The cottage is my haven and inspiration,” she enthuses. “It’s a place where I can get long periods of time to write.”

The themes of aging and memory inform Carson’s insightful and lyrical poetry and prose. Writing up to six to seven hours a day, Ann’s work has appeared in journals, magazines, anthologies and four books: ‘Shadows Light, Poetry and Sculptures’ (2005); ‘My Grandmother’s Hair,’ a social memoir of family (2006); ‘The Risks of Remembrance, New Poems’ (2010) and her most recent book, ‘We All Become Stories’ (2013) an example of the author’s unique ability to interview a subject and be reflective at the same time. In WABS, 12 elders speak perceptively and movingly about the process of aging and memory, especially ‘sensory memory,’ the memory we hold in our bodies without thought.

The Manitoulin Writer’s Circle, with the Gore Bay Museum, have hosted ‘soft’ launches for Ann’s books. “When I first arrived, I began to meet people on the Island through the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle, and they have been very important to me and supportive. Margo Little and Nicole Weppler have been front and centre,” she explains. “Things grow out from just a few connections,” Ann continues. “I love working collaboratively with other writers, musicians and artists. The various arts function under the same umbrella, while giving us all different perspectives.”

Ann has participated in the Writers’ Circle Cross Pollination and Canadian Crossroads projects, in the Manitoulin Art Tour and in the Debajehmujig Theatre Group’s 6-Foot Project. Recently, she has worked with a visual artist and a musician in Toronto to interpret aspects of memory and aging in the 12 elders’ lives that inform ‘We All Become Stories.’

Her next work, ‘Laundry Lines, Reflections in Prose and Poetry,’ will explore the links of the author’s personal life with social and political issues—especially “the consequences of climate change and inequality at every level.” She has finished two-thirds of the manuscript and plans to continue this summer.

She has already started editing the text. That process “forces you to take some distance from your work,” she observes. Three or four readers review her writing before it goes to a professional editor. “You have to be prepared to let your ego get out of the way, and if you resist, think what you miss!” She always receives sound, thoughtful advice, whether or not she takes it!

For further information about Ann, please visit anncarson.com and check out anncarson.com/stories for excerpts from her work.