In the April 2014 poet Stephen Collis joined hundreds of others taking to the streets in The People’s Procession Against the Pipeline. At the rally near the procession’s end he read a new poem, 72 Theses Against Tar Sands Pipelines and the Continued Exploitation of Fossil Fuels, and in an act which evoked the poem’s inspiration – Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences – affixed the poem on Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Terminal gates. Only 6 months later Collis would find himself, along with 4 others, barred from protesting survey work being conducted on Burnaby Mountain and being threatened with a 5.6 million dollar lawsuit by the Texas-based oil company Kinder Morgan.
In recognition of the outrageousness of the financial threat laid against him, and appreciation for the devotion he’s shown to the cause of people-powered democracy, Gabriel Saloman and Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte (the artist and curator behind the People’s Procession) reached out to Malaspina Printmakers to help create a unique, fine-art edition of Collis’s poem. Designed by Marten Sims to simulate the fiery propaganda of Luther’s time, and meticulously hand printed by Matt Parisien and Val Lowen, this very limited edition is being sold to raise funds for the legal defense of Collis and others who have stood against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and for a more just, safer and democratic world.
Stephen Collis is a poet and professor of contemporary literature at Simon Fraser University. His many books of poetry include The Commons (Talon Books 2008), On the Material (Talon Books 2010—awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), and To the Barricades (Talon Books 2013). He has also written two books of criticism and a novel, The Red Album (BookThug 2013). His collection of essays on the Occupy movement, Dispatches from the Occupation (Talon Books 2012), is a philosophical meditation on activist tactics, social movements, and change. In September 2013 Coach House Books published DECOMP, a collaborative photo-essay and long poem written with Jordan Scott.