Object Poems


Kaia Sand
Portland, Oregon

Beware the fury of the financier

In 2010, I began the Happy Valley Project, a poetic investigation of housing foreclosures and financial speculation. We dwell in a landscape of foreclosed houses, those shells of shelter, while some of us are shelter-less people. As I doggedly read, I focused less on the over-aspiring homeowner or even the real estate flipper, and more on the leveraging that was so extreme it could collapse the economy.

The more I grappled with the abstract, hard-to-track financial speculation, the more material and tactile my poetic composition became. This dropcloth, well-trodden and splattered from workaday painting projects, helped me find my poetic form. While my investigation zeroed in on the financial speculation that puffed around housing foreclosures, I meditatively composed this poem by embroidering, line under line.

My grandmother and mother, who both taught me to embroider, contributed stitches to the stiches, as did my daugher, Jessi, who specializes in French knots. Jules Boykoff attended to the poem’s language. The project was partially funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Yarn, 8-foot paint-splotched canvas dropcloth. 2010. Unique.


About the Artist

Kaia Sand is the author of Remember to Wave (Tinfish Press), a book that is also a walk Sand leads in North Portland, investigating political history and current goings-on. She also authored the poetry collection interval (Edge Books) and co-authored with Jules Boykoff Landscapes of Dissent (Palm Press). Her poems “lotto” and “tiny arctic ice” comprise the text of two books in Jim Dine's Hot Dreams series (Steidl Editions). Sand has created chapbooks and broadsides as part of the Dusie Kollektiv, and she is collaging lyric poetry from the North American Free Trade Agreement. She curates Econ Salons, a format blending economic talks with cultural performances, and she recently created the Happy Valley Project, an investigation of housing foreclosures and financial speculation that included a magic show on the financial collapse, A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Up Money that Lost its Puff.






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