To Love the Coming End

In To Love the Coming End, a disillusioned author obsessed with natural disasters and ‘the curse of 11’ re ects on their own personal earthquake: the loss of a loved one. A lyric travelogue that moves between Singapore, Canada, and Japan, this debut from Leanne Dunic captures what it’s like to be united while simultaneously separated from the global experience of trauma, history, and loss that colour our everyday lives.

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kyoto journal

every november, persimmons

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cascadia review

i’ll build you a cairn, a poem.

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asian cha

thieves, a poem.

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Ghosts Are Everywhere

As featured on Kitaab

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Without Her

Winner of the Alice Munro Short Story Prize. Read here.

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Interview with Leanne

read here: Junoesq

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New Vancouver Poets Folio, Poetry is Dead & Lemon Hound

my poems here, as well as work from 25 other vancouver poets.

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A Night In Omotesando While Cats Watched

read here: Far Enough East

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new chapbook!

thanks to bitterzoet for putting this collection of my poems together! check it out here.

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Science and Poetry Event

Leanne Dunic with collaborator and stem cell scientist, Ben Paylor.

(photo by Selena Photography)

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Hello 2013!

I’m starting a new tradition: To take a snapshot of books that have greatly influenced my writing and art. Here is installment #1, and since it’s the first one, it features titles that have inspired me throughout my life.

I am looking forward to reading the books for next year’s photo. Better start reading…

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Far Enough East – Poems: Never Marry A Railroad Man, Perennial, and Right vs Left.

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The Poetry of Science

With the help of the insightful Betsy Warland, I have finished my poetry manuscript, Softer Science.

Speaking of science and poetry, I’m pleased to be a part of the first Vancouver Science of Poetry Collaboration – the fruits of which will be shared with the public on Friday December 14, 2012 @ 1965 Gallery on Main Street. Thanks to curator, Aileen Penner, for matching me up with stem cell scientist Ben Paylor. He is an artist/scientist who works in a hot field, and uses his talents to inform through film and animation. Check out one of his pieces here.


Switchback San Francisco

erosion: a poem.

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Quarterly Literary Review Singapore

a poem published in QLRS from my poetry manuscript (in-progress) of the same name: Our Greatest Years Have Passed Like Flowers.

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Ricepaper 17.2 Launch

Leanne and writing partner Matea Kulic who wrote an article on musician Jasper Sloan Yip for the issue.

Leanne with editor Ray Hsu.

Leanne and Chris von Szombathy, writer of this issue’s “What is Asian”.


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Writing Partners: Dhana Musil and Leanne Dunic at The Independents Chapbook Launch

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Asian Cha

two poems

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Yesterday, I finished my last day at The Writers’ Studio.

Here is a projection of what my next year of writing will be like:

This will be a year that I am warm with inspiration. Abundance surrounds – I will learn from my environment and community, grow rich with imagery and ideas. I will find opportunities, meet muses, share and teach.

Focus will come naturally to me.

Writing will take me across the ocean. I will eat enough noodles, soybean products and paratha to last me another year.

I will be happy that there are things I don’t know, and my house will be full of books. My love and I will write together, make music.

Lucid dreams, surreal encounters.



If my writing were videos about Singapore, I hope it would be as beautiful as the shorts produced by these guys.
Thanks for the heads up, little odd forest!

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Spidey Senses

The spider fidgeted and twisted. His body was like a grain of rice marked with charcoal and chalk-coloured stripes. I bent down close and he lifted his head and looked into my eyes with his - dark, black and numerous. He lept towards me on a line of silk, then fell and landed in a shadow.
Wikipedia says: "Zebra spiders are often noted for their 'curiosity' when observed by humans; many seem aware of their audience and seem to respond to observation by raising their heads and studying the observer."
Aha! I wasn't crazy!
The article continues to say, "They ignore unappetising insects such as ants." I remember trying to feed spiders ants when I was a kid, and yes, they did not eat them like I wanted them to. FYI, frogs don't like to eat ants, either.

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Anaïs Nin on Writing

I recently read an essay by Anaïs Nin called "The New Woman".  Although this 1971 essay was not as ground breaking as it most likely was at the time, she accurately described the writing process as I see it:
“The artist …  hopes to impose his particular vision and share in with others.  And when the second stage is not reached, the brave artist continues nevertheless.  The few moments of communion with the world are worth the pain, for it is a world for others, an inheritance for others, a gift to others in the end.
“We also write to heighten our own awareness of life.  We write to lure and enchant and console others.  We write to serenade our lovers.  We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection … When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking … It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.”
I really connect with this description.  In another essay titled "Realism and Reality", Nin discusses her writing style.  She says that she writes “dramas as the unconscious lives them.  I never include the concrete object or fact unless it has a symbolical role to play.”
She says that her books “differ from poetry not in tone, language or rhythm, but merely by the fact that they contain both the symbol and the interpretation of the symbol”.
This is the way I write when I write well - from my innermost self, allowing my subconscious to realize themes and symbols for my work.  I admire Nin's consistent ability to write like this, as well as her integrity and sincerity that is evident in all of her work.

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the beach.

In my dream, I plunged below the ocean surface with only the slightest fear - of what, I can't define.  I sunk and felt my bottom graze the rocks below.  And as I opened my eyes and felt the sting of salt, I saw a black giant rush towards me.  It swam above me to allow my suspended body to become parallel with it.  I felt the soft rubber of its torso against mine.  I flung my arms around it as if to try to keep it there in that exact moment, but it continued on.  Its smirk altered the currents around me.
I awoke motivated.  Today, I would to jog to the beach.  My dream told me that it was waiting for me everyday - why didn't I visit?
I ran there as soon as I could.  It was waiting, just like my dream foretold.  On any day - even today - I could dive in and find something to hold.
I walked down the stairs to a low tide.  Two dozen crows lined the sea edge, but other than that, the beach was empty.  Seaweed, clams and sludge lay vulnerable with the receded tide.   As I crunched my way to the water, I considered the shells I ground into more fragments with my feet.  Was it wrong for me to tread along the shore?  Did I destroy organisms with every step?
I continued to the pulsing edge of the water.  Amidst the grey foam I saw a jellyfish, small enough to fit in my hand.  It hovered close to shore, passive.  I wanted to examine it, but was stopped by a memory - something about burning.
I scooped up the jellyfish with cupped hands.  No sting.  I exhaled.
It was perfectly translucent, and felt deliciously glutinous.  I placed it back in the water, and it continued to trip along the rocks.
The crows became voluminous in both sound and numbers.  Each caw caused me to blink and nipped at my ears.
Please don't be alarmed, I said. Look, I have black feathers like you.  Caw caw.
The crows were rampant, so I rushed back to the stairs.  The crows followed me, then perched loudly in the trees.  Caw caw!  Not today, Leanne!
Thwarted by crows, I ran home, unable to live out my dream.

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Early Summer Finds

I know it is finally summer when the things I find on the ground are so fascinating.
It was the day after the summer solstice when I found a stunning green dragonfly in the Aberdeen Skytrain Station.  I caught it, then gently carried it outside with my hands.  On the corner of Cambie and Number 3 Road, there was no ideal spot to release it.  I dropped it off on the sidewalk beside the station.  Hopefully, it would be able to fly away without getting hit by cars.
Later on that day, I noticed a small brown bird wing on a sidewalk near Granville Island.  Not a feather was out of place.  It looked perfect.  If only I had my camera with me, it would have been a great addition to my blog: things I found on the ground
As the sun set on my way home, I passed a flattened wasp nest on the side of the road.

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Kenneth, what’s the frequency?

So, 1994 was the last time the Canucks were in the Stanley Cup Finals, and this year, history repeated itself.  This is a bit late, but since everyone else is reminiscing about stuff that happened seventeen years ago, I will, too...
Back then, I lived in Victoria, and I remember crying when the Canucks lost to the Rangers in our last run at the cup.  Same thing this year - but way more intensity and tears.  Despite my reaction, hockey and sports have never defined my life to the same extent music has.
To me, 1994 was defined by its music.  I remember checking out a cassette of REM's "Monster" from the Victoria downtown library that year, since the 11-year-old me lacked funds and a CD player.  I fell in love with songs like Bang and Blame and Crush with Eyeliner.  Strange Currencies was one of the first songs that I learned to play on guitar, and was satisfied by my pseudo-fingerpicking.
The most memorable track from that album was What's The Frequency Kenneth, and I've always found that guitar sound deliciously crunchy.  In the video, Peter Buck looks like he should be playing in Buffalo Springfield.  I am still mesmerized by the so-bad-it's-good phoenix suit worn by Mike Mills and Michael Stipe's newly shaved head and undulating hips.  The frenetic lights in the video remind me of Battling Seizure Robots, and only a little of hockey riots.
Today, I still take out music from the library and have no money, and I still love many of the songs on "Monster".  In my reminiscing, I wanted to figure out what guitar Peter Buck was using on Kenneth (I won't attempt to figure out what amps/pedals he used).  Wikipedia tells me that "Buck uses Kurt Cobain's Jag-Stang that he received as a gift from Courtney Love after Cobain died and plays it upside-down as Cobain was left-handed."  I don't think that's what he used in the recording - I'll just imagine he was using his trademark black Rickenbacker.
What will define 2011 to me seventeen years from now?  I think it might take me that long to figure it out.  Back then, I thought I would marry a hockey player - instead, I married a musician.

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beautiful british columbia

my childhood home, brentwood bay
I recently wrote a short piece about what has inspired me to leave a fingerprint on the world.  There are so many things that influence us through out our lives, but if I were to pick one thing, it would be living on the Westcoast…
British Columbia is a place that grows curiosity – a place that has the incredible power to affect imaginations.
Here, the emerald sea touches rainforests ready to be foraged for furled fiddleheads and shaggy manes. It is a privilege to explore this landscape – to hide behind fir trees, hills, slate and quartz. To hear the mist whisper with the wind as it sifts through the baleen woods. To stumble upon hidden treasures of petroglyphs, fossils and arrowheads.
On the shore, oysters, hijiki and sea lettuce thrive – handpicked regional eating at its finest. There is as much potential to create a feast with this seashore harvest as there is with the abundance from the waters. The ocean brings what is needed to survive. It sustains us.
I remember days on the boat with my family, scooping gooseberry jellyfish with my palms. I would watch for marine mammals, but they would only surface when I stopped looking for them. I remember taping a picture of Telegraph Cove on my wall – don’t forget to go there before you die. I made a mental note to be reincarnated as an orca.
Back then the fishing was plentiful, reeling in sole, red snappers and rock cod. I easily found moon snails, and abalones in tide pools. As the years passed, dogfish became the predominant catch, and I have yet to find an abalone as an adult.
These shifts inform me of the struggle to maintain a balance, and move me to document and share these changes through my writing. We are undeniably integrated and incapable without each other. I seek to pass on the inspiration, natural history, and wisdom of my home.

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