Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Poetry Canadian

The Answer to Everything

Selected Poems of Ken Belford

by (author) Ken Belford

edited by Jordan Scott & Rob Budde

Caitlin Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2021
Canadian, Nature, Places
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Ken Belford's career has spanned six decades and three lives. The Answer to Everything collects Belford's poetry of the 1960s in Vancouver, his "lan(d)guage" poetry of the early 2000s influenced by his time on remote Blackwater Lake, and his more political-charged poetry of the last decade while he lived in Prince George. This collection allows readers to discover or reflect on Ken's unique and challenging work, seeing patterns and themes in his poetics as they evolved out of his TISH-influenced poetry and into more contemporary dialogues where Belford seemingly establishes a poetic school of his own.


The collection has been organized chronologically, setting foundational texts from his earlier work next to his celebrated recent books that concretized his distinct poetic sensibilities. This remarkable collection is assembled based on Belford's wishes by those close to him as a definitive record of his life's work.

About the authors

Ken Belford was born to a farming family in Alberta and grew up in Vancouver. For more than thirty years, he, along with his wife and daughter, operated a non-consumptive enterprise in the unroaded mountains at the vicinity of the headwaters of the Nass and Skeena Rivers.The “self-educated Lan(d)guage” poet has said that living for decades in the “back country” has afforded him a unique relationship to language that rejects the colonial impulse to write about nature, but speaks from the regions of the other.“The conventional standards of narrative and lyric poetry give me nothing. The intention of the sequences I write is to assemble words that can be messaged to the habituated souls of the city from the land-aware that live outside city limits.”Currently living in Prince George, British Columbia, with his activist wife, Si, Belford continues to write outside the boundaries of the conventional forms of the various schools of poetry.His seven previous books of poetry are Fireweed, The Post Electric Caveman, Pathways Into the Mountains, lan(d)guage, when snakes awaken, Ecologue, Decompositions, Internodes, and Slick Reckoning.

Ken Belford's profile page

New Westminster, BC native Jordan Scott is a graduate student in creative writing at the University of Calgary. He has published several chapbooks, including A Walking History of Wladyslaw's Body In Parts and Mere Mismemory. His work has also appeared in Matrix, Filling Station, and other journals. He lives in Calgary.

Jordan Scott's profile page

Rob Budde teaches Creative Writing at the University of Northern BC and has taught previously at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. He has published seven books of poetry, fiction, and short fiction. He has been a finalist for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year. In 1995, Budde completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. Recently Budde published a book of poetry titled Finding Ft. George, a collection of poems about Rob s growing relationship with Prince George and Northern BC. Rob lives in Prince George with his partner, Debbie Keahey and four children: Robin, Erin, Quinlan, and Anya. Check out his poetry blog:

Rob Budde's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The land's nourishment, flowing water, ancestral wind all commingle in these analects, generating rain, cloud cover, and conditions for a poetry that enlivens our capacity to remember that we are part of the earth. Belford reminds us, with humour, humbleness and wide-ranging references, that a life well lived is built through relationships, not commodities, through a falling apart that is also a rebuilding of parts. Listen to this ecosystem that anticipates climate's sudden shifts & stays with what the trees, the viruses, the small and the big, have to teach us, when we pay attention and respect our interconnectedness."

—Rita Wong, author of monkeypuzzle, forage and undercurrent

Other titles by