Sunday, September 10, 2006


The world of publication is hard for me to figure out. Today I finally got around to opening my September/October copy of This Magazine, to which I have a subscription because I submit every year to their Great Canadian Literary Hunt poetry section. I short-listed for it in 2004, as a matter of fact, with my poem "Summer Journey". So of course today I went straight to the GCLH announcements, and found, to my surprise, that I had short-listed again. The last time I short-listed they sent me an announcement and an encouraging letter. This time, no announcement, no letter, no e-mail. Of course, what with the vagaries of e-mail, it is quite possible that for some reason I didn't receive it, if it was sent. I don't really understand, but at least it was a good surprise. It's the second time I've been surprised this year: I didn't know that one of my poems had been published in this year's Quills, until the issue arrived in the mail. So, I guess it's a good sign...and the first place winner of the contest, one Sean Horlor, with his poem "In Praise of Beauty", is truly deserving of the prize. It's a lovely poem. So why not pick up a copy of the magazine? I think it's great to have that venue for poets...and fiction writers.

These days I'm working more on a short creative non-fiction piece...sometimes it's refreshing to change one's genre for a while. I would have liked to attend Amanda Earl's Poetic Desserts event tonight but it has been a grand day of entertaining (husband Bernie at the BBQ for friends, again) so I have to raincheck. That raincheck may in fact be a chill one...since in October there are so many other events that Amanda is not reconvening desserts until November. I'm glad to be included and will try, try again...I tend to be a bit more of a hermit in winter, and my parents will be here for some months, so our outings may be of a different nature.

In the meantime, I am off to Chicago just after my 50th birthday, coming up soon, because I am needed to do a book-signing! In my other life (sometimes I think admitting to being a member of a faith group is like a kiss of death for an aspiring poet, so I try not to mix those two worlds much) but...I am indeed a Baha'i, and have my first book coming up...Partners in Spirit: What Couples Say About Marriages That Work. If you want to read it, by all means go online to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Allbookstores in the States, or our Chapters/Indigo stores here in my name...or the title...and and enjoy. This book is the result of a couple of events. First, I was thinking about how challenging it must be for a lot of people to believe in marriage at all...there are so many divorces. But I taught school for a long time, and I know the value of positive modelling. And I love stories, and know the value of narration. So I started asking people for their stories...not about what didn't work, about marriage (there are so many stories of that nature that it's depressing) but about what did...which is kind of heartening...and one think led to another and I collected them. Thus, I wrote a book (on the side, when I was writing my Master's papers, actually) and it was accepted by Baha'i Publishing in Chicago. So I am an author now! Not that I wasn't before, but the poetic wing has been kept separate from the non-fiction (or religious) works.

But I've been thinking about this, too...there are many writers in Canada, poets included, who express their convictions through their poetry. For those whose faith is a part of their lives (Gary Snyder, a Buddhist, in the United States, won the Pulitzer)...Margaret Avison, Lorna Crozier...who else is a 'religious' poet? Tim Lilburn? I suppose I use the term in its broadest context...spiritual & committed. I'm not sure, as a Baha'i, I could be considered 'mainstream religious' anyway, whatever that is.

Musings on synthesis, conflation, the unity of heart, mind, spirit....the poem and the Word; the poet and the Wyrd. So much to reflect upon, mostly my favourite analogy of the human: how we are multi-faceted crystals, and whatever light you see is the one you are shown in the moment. Today I am showing one side of me to the other...perhaps the season change of light refracted back through a lens. Convex, concave, microscope, macroscope...the DNA of dance.

Okay, enough esoterics for one day. Really, it's very simple: still, gratitude. See the poem, archived at Leaf Press. Monday's Poem, where I breathed out to the universe, the counting of blessings.


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