maps of our bodiesMaps of Our Bodies & the borders we have agreed upon


by Taien Ng-Chan

isbn 0-9733499-5-6

includes Roadmaps CD

Available from Conundrum Press

Maps of Our Bodies draws on themes of travel, location/ dislocation, and that old workhorse, love. These poems and prose poems are a series of maps and meditations on the act of traversing space, both physically and emotionally; together, they sketch out a narrative arc about the course of a relationship, from its intense and sleepless beginnings to the negotiations of boundaries and space, to separation over long distances and a solitary road trip across the huge expanse of land that is Canada.

The accompanying CD, Roadmaps, is a word/music collaboration between writer Taien Ng-Chan and musician Scott W. Gray of The Sally Fields. These 13 songs explore a range of musical styles from traditional pop guitar and percussion to technological soundscape. Enhancing the CD are six videos, featuring a contribution by cartoonist/animator Joe Ollmann.

maps of our bodiesRoadmaps CD Playlist

1. a map at the beginning of time
2. space
3. fourteen hours
4. on the Trans-Canada
5. deer signs
6. scenic route
7. I don’t remember
8. Portage Avenue
9. at the edge of Lake Superior
10. roadside café
11. flight (just keep driving)
12. a map of the maria (seas of the moon)
13. driving through the city in the middle of night

on the Trans-Canada
deer signs (Flash animation by Joe Ollmann)

flight (just keep driving)
driving through the city in the middle of night
the Red Ribbon


"Beginning in a stuffy apartment, Taien Ng-Chan1s book of poems soon bursts onto the open landscape like a flock of birds swooping out of the bushes. With the help of musician Scott W. Gray and cartoonist Joe Ollmann on the accompanying multimedia CD, Ng-Chan hypnotically roars eastward across Canada on a solo road trip. She perfectly captures the feeling of leaving everything you know but not being ready to arrive at a new place. Despite the movement of the car, time is suspended on her journey. Ng-Chan's measured voice leaves wide-open spaces between words, as do many of her poems on the page. This technique eloquently hints at a difficult relationship with someone, one that needs certain distances and detailed borders. The arty table of contents is drawn like a map, and each poem represents a place on the journey. Have you ever wanted to just keep on driving? Taien does. She empties tank after tank of gas, burning through every city and town on the Trans-Canada highway. Until, of course, she long passes her destination and reaches the ocean, where she has 'nothing to do but turn back or fall in.' The choice she makes reminds us that the most profound epiphanies always come when you work to make a place your home."
- Pike Wright, Shameless Magazine, Summer 2006

taien ng-chan

Taien Ng-ChanTaien Ng-Chan is the anthology editor of Ribsauce: a cd/anthology of words by women (Véhicule Press / Wired on Words 2001), and reviews editor at Matrix Magazine. She has written drama for stage, screen, and radio, and her short films have been presented at film festivals across the country. Taien’s poetry and fiction have been published in a number of anthologies and journals, including Geist, CV2, and The Capilano Review. More of Taien’s projects can be found online at wagpress, which she runs with her partner, the inimitable cartoonist Joe Ollmann. She lives in Montréal.

Scott W. GrayScott W. Gray has been writing, recording and performing music for over fifteen years, both in a solo setting (as The Sally Fields) and in various group environments. Visit the website to see what this joker is up to.

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