A deft and deeply moving collection of words, sounds and music. Grief in its many incarnations and the inner peace that comes with acceptance and time. These people can write a phrase or two.
This album is for my mommy, Sharon Conyer, who lived 1956 - 2010.
"If the river stood still" follows my ongoing process of grieving, closure, and healing, which culminated in the summer of 2018 when my sisters and I carried out a ritual involving the remainder of her ashes. Grieving is a forever process. Slippery. Murky. But an element of the cycle closed during this ritual, and in the creation, release, and performance of this album. I hope that this music and poetry can be of help to those who have experienced a loss, or to anyone struggling to accept death's constant presence in our lives.
I am endlessly grateful to Nathanael Larochette for his incredible work on this album. And even more so for his constant and unwavering support as I wade through these waters.
Thank you to my sisters, Cat and Page. For your patience, for being present with me in the ritual, for helping me realize certain things that needed to be done. Mom always said we would be the most important people in the world to each other, and she was right.
I dedicate this album to anyone who knew my mom, and heard her laugh. She is integrated in us all.
All poetry composed and performed by Conyer Clayton
All music composed and performed by Nathanael Larochette
Recorded live at Little Bullhorn in Ottawa, ON, Summer 2018
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Dave Draves
Cover photo taken by Nathanael Larochette at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, July 2018
Notes on field recordings:
All field recordings were taken on an iphone by either myself or Nathanael Larochette in spring/summer 2018
Undergrowth - Long Lake Provincial Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia - This piece shares a title with a chapbook of mine published by bird, buried press in June 2018. When I was in Halifax, I spent a lot of time in Long Lake Provincial Park as a means of escape and solace.
Home - Bird recordings taken at my childhood home in Louisville, KY, where this poem begins and ends.
Recurrent - The Ottawa River, where this piece was originally composed, sitting on a bench with Nathanael.
Encasement - Land Between the Lakes in Western Kentucky, moments after my sisters and I scattered the remainder of my mother's ashes in the very same water. You can hear her in this piece. She is there, in conversation with me. Listen.
Mitosis - Thunderstorm recorded at my childhood home. The storm broke as Nathanael and I were pulling into the driveway. The birds are from Cherokee Park in Louisville, KY, a place of constant positivity in my life.
Publications and Awards:
Vegetables - China Grove, spring 2013, and winner of the 2013 Metroversity Graduate Poetry Contest
Home - Prairie Fire Magazine, Fall 2017
Recurrent - The Fiddlehead, summer 2018, and honourable mention in their 2018 Poetry Contest
Light - Coven Editions, Broadside, November 2017 as "The light in her bedroom is different because it exists at all"
Mitosis - Chapbook with In/words Magazine and Press, August 2018