A remarkable debut that expresses a humanism grounded in physiology.
At the heart of Karyotype is the Beauty of Loulan, a woman who lived four thousand years ago, her body preserved in the cool, dry sands of the Taklamakan Desert. Karyotype’s poems range from the title sequence, which explores the DNA and woven textiles of this woman and her vanished people (a karyotype is the characteristic chromosome complement of a species), to the firebombing of the National Library of Sarajevo, from an abecedarian hymn on the International Red Cross “Book of Belongings” to the experience of watching the televised invasion of Iraq in the dark of a Montreal night. The Beauty of Loulan becomes a symbol of the ephemerality of human genetic and cultural texts, and of our chances for survival.
And then there was Liu Baiqiang
sentenced to 18 years for “Counter-Revolutionary Incitement”
who attached words to the legs of locusts
Tyranny! Long Live Freedom!
and flung them over the walls
of his prison, into the air.
Praise for Karyotype:
“Karyotype is for me a crucial text in the work of reimagining what it is to be human… I am grateful, as well as inspired, to find an artwork performing this essential task.” —Don McKay
- Karyotype by Kim Trainor
Deborah C. Bowen, Journal of Canadian Poetry – The Poetry Review: Volume Thirty-One For the Year 2015
- Supreme Fictions and Strange Relations
Nicholas Bradley, Canadian Literature, Spring 2017
- Tenderly Urgent: Kim Trainor’s Karyotype
Barbara Myers, Arc poetry magazine, October 9, 2016
- Open Book Recommends: 2015 Holiday Reading Guide Part Two
Open Book, December 15, 2015
- Two poets not afraid to say the necessary things
George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, November 8, 2015
About the Author
Kim Trainor began writing poetry in the spring of 2009. Over the years she has worked at a campus radio station, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a biomedical library, and is currently a sessional lecturer at UBC. Her poetry has won the Gustafson Prize and the Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, and has appeared in the…