Friday, January 26, 2007

Reflecting on the Word

Thanks to Pearl Pirie, who writes me that she has posted a promotion of my book on her blog.

I also wanted to tell you that the other day, after I finished marking quizzes in my little shared office at the University of Ottawa, where I am working part-time, I read some poetry I've been wanting to look at for some time. I share some lines from Wallace Stevens which I may someday use for an epigraph, if a poem "comes". In the meantime, they sing to me.

She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker.

Wallace Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West”

Tonight I will read some poems I have written for my father, at the Baha'i Centre coffeehouse, in downtown Ottawa. I am pleased to be included on their program, and will tell y'all about it sometime, perhaps with a picture or two...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chelsea woman

Between here and Wakefield lies Chelsea. Actually, it's a quick walk as the crow flies and it's another amalgamated community so it stretches a considerable way along the Gatineau River...but it is undoubtedly one of the prettier Chelseas in the world and in addition, there are a lot of women named Chelsea. This picture is of one of them. She is a former student of mine, and I spent some time with her last week while doing some moonlighting (supply teaching at a local Adult Ed. school). This particular Chelsea dances to her own tune, and gave me permission both to photograph her and to post her radiant smile for you all to be inspired. Introducing Chelsea, from close to Chelsea...and so it goes.

She's NOT dead...

Adrienne Rich is not dead.

I say this because on the list of "you got it wrongs", this weekend I did a doozer. I was one of the featured poets at the Bywords winterfest of poetry, held at Chapters, the Rideau store in downtown Ottawa. While I was introducing my poem, "capable", which begins with an epigraph by Adrienne Rich about Muriel Rukeyser (see it in the Winter chapbook which you can buy at the Bywords site), I mentioned the "late" Adrienne Rich. This is because I thought she was dead. I was dead wrong! and thanks to fellow Ottawa poet Barbara Myers for pointing this out. I don't have a clue where I got that idea...but I am glad to hear that rumours of Rich's death were greatly exaggerated and she's alive and well and still writing. My apologies (mea culpa) to any and all who were present for the occasion.

Despite my misinformation, I must say it was a lovely afternoon. Above, you see pictured the versatile singer-songwriter Lindsay Ferguson, who entertained us for a considerable time both before and after the readings. I must say: if you haven't heard this young woman perform, go and hear her if you can. Better still, follow this link and buy her music. I bought CD's on the spot. Lovely, lovely. Apparently we are almost neighbours: she's a Wakefield girl. I shall pay attention.

And speaking of attention, I want to give my next picture some front and centre, so will post again.

Monday, January 15, 2007

To say goodbye

Joan Doran, died January 14, 2007
surrounded by her loving family
Rest in Peace
With Love,


at passing
(for Joan Doran)

if one could give
a tanka in her honour
it would speak to beads
and unfamiliar sound
of her rosary, singing,

speaking memory.
she would live again inside
six strong and distant men,
each strong generation passed
to the rising moon

to hold her as she
slips away. west, something new
opens to a surging sea
while smoke, unfurled,
wisps slowly past closed eyes.

never again will
we like the colour yellow.
he puts these fine brushes down
to search for stillness, finds it
in another art, their sons.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A New Year

...and it's finally winter. Canadians have a propensity to comment on the weather, anyway, but this year the winter has been even more a conversation piece, a national news item, and the subject of lots of hot air about global warming. It has been truly sad to see the news coverage of great large trees falling in Vancouver's Stanley Park, and sadder still to hear all the debate about whether they should be allowed to go back into the forest or whether they should be cut up for the money each board foot provides. Global warming is real, and still the debate. If you want to hear some lovely music on the subject, I refer you to Nancy Ward, whose song, "To The Planters of Trees", has to be as sweet as you can hear, and to one of my favourite Vancouver Island groups, Wyrd Sisters, who taught me the word which I used for my blog. Their music, both Ward and Wyrd, is wonderful.