On March 16th, twelve prisoners met at Bowden Institution in Innisfail, Alberta met to discuss The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, a book set in the near-future, drought-devastated southwestern United States.
The text resonated; many members drew parallels between the book's dystopic representation of the fight for control over water and contemporary ecological issues. "We are living that now, some areas worse than others," the book club members agreed. Lorna Watkinson Zimmer, a volunteer facilitator at Bowden, asked the book club members whether "we could end up as desperate as the characters in the book." The resounding answer was "yes."
After a heated discussion around a couple of The Water Knife characters, the book club members turned towards poetry to deepen their reflection. Together, the members wrote a poem about The Water Knife's Angel Velasquez, leg-breaker, assassin, and spy:
Angel was a man with a knife
In all, he did he caused great strife
He the evil devil?
The world he did wrestle
Did he serve death or was it life?
One of the members then read the group a haiku he had recently written for his wife:
The book club members were inspired, and collectively wrote haikus about two recent reads, Angela's Ashes and The Book of Negroes.