Who is Mia ? What is she?

An Anglican priest in the diocese of Québec. Incumbent of the parish of St Michael in Québec city for 7½ years, before ‘retiring’ autumn 2008 and now running full-time (in double sense) the fledgling Éditions du Lys Vert and the Institut d’études anglicanes francophones à Québec.

Used to be a shepherd of real sheep. Changed flocks.

Once followed on foot the ‘transhumance’ in the Cévennes of France.

Used to be an actor, some 25 years on stage; radio drama when that existed (ahhhhh); LP recording (solo) of Margaret Atwood’s The Journals of Suzanna Moodie (CBC Publications), and Caedmon recording of Ontario Stratford Festival’s Tartuffe (Marianne). Stratford’s first Two Gentlemen of Verona (Julia, 1975); Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1976). Two one-woman shows: 10 Women, 2 Men and a Moose (1972-6), and Writ Large (1994-6), both based on contemporary Canadian literature. M.A in English literature from University of Toronto with thesis on Margaret Avison’s poetry, published in Studies in Canadian Literature, 6:1 (1981).

Am still a ‘grower’; have gardens and compost piles, serious vegetables. Living in the country with philosopher-theologian husband Tom Settle, also an Anglican priest. Getting all our books in one great high multi-walled library for the first time in their lives.

Am still a poet. Three books published: Appetite, Brick Books (1988), Château Puits ’81, Oolichan Books (1992) and Practising Death (St Thomas’ Poetry Series (1997). Winner of Malahat Long Poem prize twice: for ‘The Saugeen Sonata’ (1988), and for ‘from The Shambles’ (1992). Sheep get to graze in this one and carrots to play ‘the carrot scherzo’ in the other one. Winner of The National Magazine Award Gold for poetry in 1992.

Never was a poetess, a priestess, a shepherdess or an actress.

After 7 years of poetry's having been subsumed in predication, it has re-emerged in a prose-poetry form. At least I think it has. But the other day it played about with lines again.

The practice of silence…, the regular undertaking of an intentional form of ‘dispossession’, underwrites and progressively transforms all that one goes on receiving from those other sources [Scripture, tradition, reason].

Sarah Coakley