Tonight We Sleep with the Window Open

Poems and Drawings from Belleisle Bay

Melanie Craig-Hansford

Foreword by Beth Powning

Steps to home, contours of place …

Artists and writers are often associated with the landscape, natural history, and human stories of their home place.

Melanie Craig-Hansford spent her childhood summers and holidays in the Belleisle Bay area on the Kingston Peninsula in southern New Brunswick; it is the place that called her back after a long absence.

Tonight We Sleep with the Window Open combines the poetry and drawings she created after returning to Belleisle Bay; it is a record of a personal journey and the exploration of a remembered and loved region of New Brunswick.

The pen and ink drawings are often haunting in their graphic reflection of the personal journey and in their depiction of the life, landscape, and built environment of the local terrain.

The poems create a blended narrative of thoughtful observation. The author reaches deep into the living presence of the natural world, weaves in her memory of ancestors, and celebrates the surrounding cosmos that nourishes her creative life.

About the Author

Melanie Craig-Hansford graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University) in Halifax with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1984 and a Bachelor of Art Education in 1985. In 1982 she studied painting in Florence, Italy for a year. Melanie taught High School Visual Art in Alberta and Ontario 1986-2000. In 2000 she took the position of Teacher-Librarian at a high school in Kingston, Ontario where she remained until 2014.

Melanie now lives in Hampton, New Brunswick with her partner David, her son, Sloan, Charlie the cat, and Myles the dog. She dedicates her time to two passions: making art and writing poetry. She has published work in various journals, co-authored a book called Prayers for Women Who Can’t Pray and more recently had three poems published in a book by Bishop University Press titled Hope and Resilience in the Time of COVID.

Melanie has been involved in the Sussex Arts and Culture Centre (AX) for many years. Her work was included in group shows in 2016 and 2022. She has taught workshops and classes in drawing, acrylic painting and watercolour at AX. She has participated in many art festivals, art markets, and had solo shows at the Grand Manan Art Gallery and at the Saint John Art Centre.

From the Foreword by Beth Powning

Tonight We Sleep with the Window Open will take its place with my beloved, spine-worn volumes of poetry created by writers who have rendered landscapes with emotional precision —poets of place. There are many, but Melanie’s book will rest alongside my favourites: Robert Frost, with Vermont’s stone walls, snows and white birches; Seamus Heaney, who evokes the blackberries, briars, and milk cans of his County Derry childhood; Allan Cooper’s laundry baskets, cats, and rhubarb —spinning the web of Alma, New Brunswick; Mary Oliver’s owls, waiting, on Cape Cod.”

Paperback • 152 pages • $25(CAD), $20(USD) • ISBN 978-1-988299-49-5 • Published 2023/01/03