Reimagining Fire – The Future of Energy

Book, edited by Eveline Kolijn

Foreword by Chris Turner

Durvile and UpRoute Books, 2023

Alberta publisher Durvile and UpRoute Books published the Energy Futures Portfolio project into a book in 2023, with expanded text by the authors. The book is called: Reimagining Fire. The Future of Energy.

“The multiple voices in dialogue here—in poetry, essays and artworks—recognize that scaling back is a complex issue depending on where one lives in the world, one’s economic standing and one’s beliefs in relation to the earth. The book is engaging precisely because it does not advocate for a one-size-fits-all mentality to the energy transition; rather, it recognizes that though these discussions of scale will be complicated, they are crucial in order to acknowledge the differences of privilege and of diverse cultural relationships to the earth.”
Jenna Butler,  Alberta Views
Expanding the environmental theme of the book into the method of its manufacture, the text paper, covers, and inks used in the book are from the most sustainable and compostable sources presently possible.

In Reimagining Fire, environmentally conscientious artists, writers, and poets, exert their opinions about energy transition.
How can we envision the future? What actual options are already there? How do we adapt? What are the problems and what are the challenges?
This topic of energy transition is shared around the world.
Alberta is Canada’s oil province and serves as a microcosm of the challenges and opportunities that the world faces in decarbonizing society, with its current energy needs and consumer lifestyles. This makes the Alberta story a global story.
Eveline Kolijn, editor and curator of the project, connected the artists and writers with a network of experts, thinkers, and influencers from Canada’s Energy Futures Lab, an organization that defines our energy future as enabling a quality of life by meeting energy needs reliably and affordably.

The artists and writers were free to choose their subject matter. Many go back to basics: the priority of having access to clean air, the soil of the earth, and water. Elements of nature. Mary Kavanagh has created a reflection of our complex atmosphere with lyrical simplicity: what is in the sky, and what is this materiality that we, and the whole world, are made of? Richard Harrison and Rosemary Griebel have written odes to the soil. Carole Bondaroff depicts the energy found in waves, while Mar’ce Merrell invites us to meditate on the importance of water alongside the visual image of artist Liz Ingram’s hands, which are holding water like prayer. In Tara Manyfingers’ image of a colonised Narcissus gazing into a pool, we have a glimpse of how we should adore the clean water itself rather than our own reflection and our exploitative desires. In Emma Gammans’ story, an impoverished couple illegally gathers firewood to keep warm. Kate Baillies and Katie Bruce pulled prints from physical matter: soil, grass, or a crack in the wall. Kasia Koralewska boiled natural fibres to make dye. The clouds and rocks in Jill Ho-You’s cyanotype have a more menacing nature, as does the coal mining depicted by Alex Thompson.

The contributions are incredibly honest. Alexis Kienlen and Kathryn Lennon share how they are wrestling with the complexities of our time. The supporting images by Heather Urness and Hannah Gelderman are playful linocuts and screenprints. The main character in Donna Williams’ story wonders if her husband should switch to working in “the new nuclear”? And while many authors decry the damaging pollution resulting from oil extraction, they acknowledge they are also part of its culture. Lori Claerhout and Heather Leier explore the connection between hypermasculinity and working in the oil patch, as do the poems by Shannon Kernaghan. Jessica Semenoff focuses on the damage to fish in the Athabasca River. Peter Midgley tells an apocalyptic, surrealist story featuring an environmental pestilence with a connection to our recent pandemic. The story was triggered by the image of his paired artist, Stan Phelps.

Another strong theme is hope. Alice Major, Kim Mannix, Maggie Hanna, and Barbara Howard, all have hope for the future. Sylvia Arthur has depicted hope as a human pipeline, while Jamie-Lee Girodat shows the bowels of the earth as a mass of wriggling arms full of potential action. Nadia Perna and Eveline Kolijn reflect on the many interlocking elements of transition; either like a patchwork blanket or facets that can be constructed into a prism. Barbara Howard tells a great epistolary story set in the future in which much has changed, but many things are still ordinarily the same. Mark Hopkins explores two future scenarios: one which works out well, and one that doesn’t. Even the dark story by Uche Umezurike finds hope. He writes about a child-climate refugee, who invents a solution for the future. What is more hopeful than youth and imagination?

“The book is intended to be visionary. Many people struggle with forming an idea of our future. Providing a vision through an artistic lens can inspire, empower, and feed action.”
Those words from Eveline Kolijn’s introduction get to the heart of what makes this new book so remarkable. Eveline is the editor of Reimagining Fire: The Future of Energy.
With Earth Day on April 22nd, this compelling new made-in-Alberta collection couldn’t arrive at a better moment. It brings together collaborations between dozens of Albertan authors, poets, scientists, and visual artists, who all come from diverse geographical, cultural, and professional backgrounds.
Reimagining Fire is out via Alberta’s own Durvile & UpRoute Books, using a meticulous and innovative approach to book production. Launch events take place May 2nd at Calgary’s Memorial Park Library, May 9th at Audreys Books in Edmonton, and in Lethbridge at Analog Books May 17th, 2023. The books editor, Eveline Kolijn, joins Grant Stovel on Alberta Morning ahead of Earth Day to discuss the new book.


Writers and Poets:
Emma Gammans, Rosemary Griebel, Maggie Hanna, Richard Harrison, Mark Hopkins, Barb Howard, Larry Kapustka, Shannon Kernaghan, Alexis Kienlen, Monica Kidd, Michael Leeb, Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon, Alice Major, Kim Mannix, Natalie Meisner, Mar’ce Merrell, Peter Midgley, Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike, Donna Williams.

Sylvia Arthur, Kate Baillies, Carole Bondaroff,
Katie Bruce, Hannah Gelderman, Jamie- Lee Girodat, Jill Ho-You, Jaqueline Huskisson, Liz Ingram, Mary Kavanagh, Eveline Kolijn, Kasia Koralewska, Tara Manyfingers, Nadia Perna, Stan Phelps, Jessica Semenoff, Jared Tailfeathers, Alex Thompson, Heather Urness.


Download a FREE, opensource copy of a PDF of the prism, to construct your own. Recommended output size: 11 x 17″ or 13 x 19″.

Acknowledging my authorship is appreciated.

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