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Former Chief columnist Yates publishes poetry works


Award winning author and former Chief columnist J. Michael Yates released a book of poetry this week.

Hongyun: New and Collected Shorter Poems, 1955 - 2005 is a collection of poems inspired by the northern settings.

According to Yates, many of the poems in the book were written while he lived in Squamish from 989 to 1998.

A news release announcing the arrival of the new book suggests the collection of poems was influenced by images of hard, frozen landscapes.

"This book is the culmination of 50 years of high places and extreme polar latitudes in the service of chasing a metaphor called 'North,'" said Yates. "It is a clean back drop on which to project vectors of consciousness."

He explained that there is a glut of poetry about cities and other popular poetry topics, but there is very little poetry about the north and he wanted to fill that void.

He said Squamish is north because it possess things that have altitude.

Yates said he drew inspiration for many of the poems in the book from the time he spent exploring the Squamish River estuary and other places in and around Squamish.

The poems that truly are about the north were inspired by his visits to Russia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. He also lived in Alaska and the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Yates settled in Squamish after he discovered it offered real estate that was more reasonably priced than homes in Vancouver and, on top of that, he found it had three of his favourite things: mountains, lakes and fish.

Soon after moving to Squamish, Sherry Bishop, the editor of the Squamish Times asked Yates to contribute to the newspaper. He started writing humour pieces that sometimes touched on hot local issues.

Yates' writing proved controversial at times but he said he enjoyed the work.

"Even the ones that didn't like me wanted me to keep writing," he said.

While he lived in Squamish he published a book called Line Screw about the years he spent working as a prison guard in Vancouver.

In the last decade, Yates said he has published a significant amount of work through the internet.An American publisher called AuthorHouse published this latest effort and the book is available in electronic form, in paperback and in hardcover.

Yates said Mostly Books will have copies for sale and the major internet book retailers also have many of his works available.

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