River Halen Guri is a queer non-binary writer and editor of Catalan and Danish descent living on unceded Indigenous land in Tio'tia:ke (Montreal, Canada). Their poems and essays dealing with relation, ecology, transformation, and sexuality have been published widely in Canada, as well as in the U.S., Australia, and in translation in Japan. They are the author of Match (Coach House, 2011), which was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and the forthcoming collection Dream Rooms (Bookhug, 2022). Chapbooks include Microphone Lessons for Poets (Bookhug, 2015), Some Animals and Their Housing Situations (The Elephants, 2018), and I looked for the exit, found a sleeve (Skyebound Press, 2019).

River has been a full-time freelance arts worker since 2011, editing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for large and small presses. They are a member of the new Brick Books editorial board and teach sessionally in the X University publishing program.


I Looked for the Exit, Found a Sleeve
limited-edition hand-sewn chapbook
Skyebound press, $20 + shipping
message to order

Some Animals and Their Housing Situations
free e-chapbook published by The Elephants press (2018)

Here Come the Waterworks
chapbook published by Bookhug (2015)

Microphone Lessons for Poets
chapbook published by Bookhug (2015)

book published by Coach House press (2011)
shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry


I looked for the exit, found a sleeve

A long poem and performance piece interpreted by flamenco dancer Katherine McLeod, I looked for the exit, found a sleeve is a ritual for a time in my life when I began to ask questions about my gender. Meanwhile, an on-again off-again relationship, a moth infestation, several illnesses and a death, family history, heteropatriarchy, colonialism, global warming, and my polyester duvet among other things revealed themselves to be operating in clear choreographic relation—a fabric that I lived in. The poem serves as the score for the dance, which is twenty-eight minutes long.

Moving from the intimate to the global and back again, the piece attends to the ways in which personal information belongs to and affects all living systems—from bacteria to insects to human bodies in and out of love to international politics—and listens for the edges, the points at which an unravelling could begin.


In the haywire time my attention
was called to small things for example
the moths that had been eating my clothes

for two years, to the point that I did not have much to wear
except polyester blends
which are very ancient
bugs and plants and larger
animals subjected to unimaginable pressure
then woven.