Joanne Epp


Joanne Epp’s first book of poetry, Eigenheim (Turnstone Press), was published in April. In 2012 she was Writer-In-Residence at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg, which resulted in the publication of her chapbook, Crossings. Her poems have also appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, and other journals; in the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies: Poems, Stories and Essays Inspired by the Martyrs Mirror; and on the U of M School of Art web site. She lives in Winnipeg.


In 5C on the second floor it was the year
of Lost in the Barrens and Tom Sawyer,
of lines on maps: Shield, Lowland,
Cordillera marked in coloured pencil.
We drew rivers joining and parting,
veins and arteries exchanging fluid,
the six phases of mitosis,
the journeys of Radisson and La Salle.

In the basement the girls watched films
that explained what we halfway knew,
that gave cheerful advice on hygiene
but didn’t mention blood. At home
we read booklets that named
and diagrammed what was in us,
about to begin. Wanting and not wanting
this attention to our changing selves,
here at the edge of the known world.

  • Joanne Epp from Eigenheim (2015), used with permission from Turnstone Press