HOOGLAND, Cornelia

Author Tags: Poetry, Theatre

Cornelia Hoogland was born on the Sumas Prairie in the Fraser Valley and her first collection of poetry is in part an exploration of her parents' emigration to Canada from Holland (The Wire-Thin Bride, Turnstone Books, 1990).

For about twenty years she lived half the year in B.C. (on Hornby Island, B.C., and in Courtenay), and the other half in London, Ontario where she taught at the University of Western Ontario. Now she permanently resides in B.C.

Hoogland has performed, lectured, and worked internationally (particularly Cuba), in the areas of poetry and drama. She was the founder and the co-artistic director of Poetry London (www.poetrylondon.ca), an organization that brings prominent writers into lively discussion with London writers and readers.

Woods Wolf Girl (Wolsak & Wynn, 2011) is a Canadianized, modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood through poetry, in which Red herself is a three-dimensional character who learns to 'swig gin in the tool shed with the boys'. It explores the notion of the good girl as well as the wolf--and was shortlisted for a 2012 Relit Award.

Her story 'Sea Level' was a 2012 finalist for the CBC Literary Nonfiction awards. Hoogland has been shortlisted for the CBC literary competition on numerous occasions. Her publications include Regreen: new Canadian ecological poetry, eds. Madhur Anad and Adam Dickinson (Your Scrivener Press, Sudbury, On., 2009); Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian nature poems, ed. Nancy Holmes (WLU Press, 2009); and The Malahat Review’s special issue “The Green Imagination,” ed. Jay Rutzesky (Winter 2008).

CITY/TOWN: Courtney & Hornby Island

DATE OF BIRTH: July 29, 1952

PLACE OF BIRTH: Chilliwack, B.C.



Woods Wolf Girl. Wolsak & Wynn. 2011 978-1-894987-53-0 $17
Crow. Black Moss Press. 2011
Second Marriage (chapbook) Canadian Poetry Association. 2005
Cuba Journal: Language and Writing. Black Moss Press. 2003
You are Home. Black Moss Press. 2002
Marrying the Animals. Brick Books. 1995
The Wire-Thin Bride. Turnstone Press. 1990

[BCBW 2012] "Theatre" "Poetry"

Woods Wolf Girl
Review (2011)

Woods Wolf Girl
Cornelia Hoogland; $17 paper 978-1-894987-53-0, 96 pp., Wolsak and Wynn

Poet and dramatist Cornelia Hoogland is an expert at spinning fables, and nowhere is this more evident than in the earthy sexual tension exploding between a B.C. Wolf and a girl named Red. In a series of monologues, or victim reports, readers experience the rumbling, boiling interior of a teenage girl named Red who just needed one instinctual meeting on a crossroads in the woods to have her concealed interior explode through. In Woods Wolf Girl, we meet the Woodsman, a Cardinal Richelieu-type witch hunter, who pursues Red simply to point out her original sin. In contrast to the Woodsman, we meet the natural World, Wolf.

Wolf acts as the catalyst for Red’s innate desires: “he shows her/ sapphire, the sky in fall/ when yellow poplars clap so loud/ you just have to look up./ Yes, she says,/ yes” (16). For the first time in her life, the woods is released, and “it was [Red] doing the inviting” (19).

Hoogland’s lyrical narrative draws the reader through the meandering pathways of the woods, our natural, shared, feminist mythology of ‘Red Riding Hood’, and enables us to feel the cemented girl breaking through her social bars and becoming the food of the forest: “her mouth ripe as the berry bush” (52).

This is an exceptional retelling of an age-old fable. Why do we repress our innate, natural selves? To what purpose, and for whom? As Red experiences a coming of age, realizing, “how [her] body has always wanted to be a basket of gifts,” (27), readers will recognize this girl’s future perception of the aging Wolf (and World) as just a man, “hoping to fluff up his hair” (83).

-- by Kara A. Smith