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Audio: Kathleen Jamie’s "Sabbath"

Because of time constraints, I wasn’t able to finish my lecture to my first-year class on Prose Non-Fiction at the University of British Columbia on Wednesday, October 3, 2013. I was set to talk about Kathleen Jamie’sessay “Sabbath,” from her collection Findings(2005), but I had to finish up some discussion of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. So, about a week later, I have tried to wind things up with this improvised audio podcast. I was talking in my lecture about forms of framing, and frame narrative, as well as Satrapi’s sense of a divided subject, and I wanted to dovetail some of these ideas into my reading of Jamie’s brilliant essay. One recurrent theme in Jamie’s work is the shortfall of language — she suggests that poetry, that writing itself, emerges from (and in) this shortfall. Instead of a frame, she creates a kind of frayed, open-ended counterpoint in “Sabbath.” She addresses the complexities of place and displacement, of the monumental and the entropic, of the global and the local, and the challenges of translation, of multiple, partial and incommensurate discourses. And she does all this in a language that is limpid, engaging and open-hearted.